MH370: "I just want to find the truth," says Malaysia's Hishammuddin

Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein delivers a statement to the media on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at the Putra World Trade Center (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur on April 5, 2014. Mr Hishammuddin
Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein delivers a statement to the media on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at the Putra World Trade Center (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur on April 5, 2014. Mr Hishammuddin said it did not matter where the investigations were carried out as long as the truth about the missing plane was out. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

Missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 special report

It doesn't matter where the investigations are carried out as long as the truth about the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane is out, said Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

As the search for the missing plane entered its second month, Mr Hishammuddin, who is Malaysia's point man in this crisis, said it is crucial to find the black box and have experts analyse the information in it.

"It is not just getting the black box. It's finding out what's in the black box," he told The Straits Times in an interview on Tuesday.

Asked if Malaysia is agreeable if investigations are done in Australia and not Malaysia after the black box is found, Mr Hishammuddin, who is also Defence Minister, said it does not matter.

"Personally I just want to find the truth. I want to know what happened to MH370. It doesn't matter how or who or where."

Under the International Convention on Civil Aviation, the country of origin of the aircraft - Malaysia in this case - must launch an investigation and secure the wreckage. But Malaysia has asked Australia to lead the search.

Mr Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, said on Tuesday the hunt for MH370 in the Indian Ocean was at a critical stage given the batteries in the black box beacons had already reached the end of their 30-day expected life.

The plane which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew vanished on March 8 and flew thousands of kilometres off its Kuala Lumpur-to-Beijing route.

Mr Hishammuddin, who for the past month has been helming daily press briefings and under intense pressure from local and international media, said his biggest challenge was to get 26 nations to provide information on the missing plane.

"Because within Asean, I had no problems at all. But once we were looking at the northern corridor with Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, I was at a loss of how to engage them."

He also revealed that the fact that the plane ended in the Indian Ocean was his biggest fear.

"Because if you look at the map, people cannot imagine. It's quite easy to sit in your living room and say, look, how can we lose a 777? But if you look at the Indian Ocean... for a ship to get (there), it's four days."

But the minister reiterated what he has been saying since Day One: he will not give up.

"I'll still be around. It's going to be a long haul."

lestkong@sph.com.sg

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