No official MH370 memorial service in Malaysia this year

Family members are hoping the MH370 search efforts will continue but they are facing the reality of a likely halt once the authorities complete the current search phase by June. The MAS flight, carrying 239 passengers and crew, lost contact with air
Family members are hoping the MH370 search efforts will continue but they are facing the reality of a likely halt once the authorities complete the current search phase by June. The MAS flight, carrying 239 passengers and crew, lost contact with air traffic controllers on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

But there will be ceremony in Parliament on March 8, on 2nd anniversary of disappearance

Malaysia will not hold an official memorial service on the second anniversary next week of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday.

However, on March 8, there will be a ceremony in Parliament to commemorate the tragedy, during which Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia will give a short speech, Datuk Seri Liow told reporters.

The plane, carrying 239 passengers and crew, lost contact with air traffic controllers on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The authorities believe it crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Perth, in Western Australia.

Other than a barnacle-encrusted wing flap that washed up in July last year on Reunion Island, near the east coast of Africa - and thousands of kilometres from the search area - nothing else has turned up despite the multinational effort to comb the sea for the wreckage for almost two years.

The wing part, or flaperon, was confirmed to have come from MH370.

Mr Martin Dolan, from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, who has been heading the search effort that China and Malaysia are also a part of, said the operation may end in June.

"When they stop searching, that's the end for us," said Ms Jacquita Gonzales, wife of MH370 chief steward Patrick Gomes.

Family members said they are hoping search efforts will continue but are facing the grim reality of a likely halt once the authorities complete the current search phase by June.

Ms Gonzales said "there's still no closure" but accepted it was also "unfair" to continue to place the burden on Australia to lead the underwater search.

Last week, Voice 370, a support group for families and relatives of those on board MH370, said it was "dismayed and disappointed" over an amended law that allows administrators of state-backed MAS to block any legal claims for compensation for up to two years.

After that, all of the assets belonging to MAS would have been transferred to its new legal entity, Malaysia Airlines Berhad.

The support group is also organising a remembrance event at a shopping mall on Sunday to mark the flight's disappearance.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'No official MH370 memorial service in Malaysia this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe