Malaysia sends officials to Madagascar to retrieve possible MH370 wreckage

Malaysia's transport minister Liow Tiong Lai speaks at a news conference about debris found on a beach in Mozambique that may be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, on March 3, 2016.
Malaysia's transport minister Liow Tiong Lai speaks at a news conference about debris found on a beach in Mozambique that may be from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, on March 3, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia has sent officials from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to retrieve a piece of plane debris found in Madagascar to determine if it is from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai confirmed that several officers had gone to Madagascar for the purpose.

"We were contacted by authorities from Madagascar and I have directed our officers to collect the debris from them.

"It is only one small piece," he told reporters after launching the World Maritime Day celebration here on Tuesday (Sept 5).

Liow noted that it was standard operating procedure for the debris to be couriered back to Malaysia or officers sent to collect them.

He said the move to send officers to Madagascar comes in the wake of the murder of Malaysia Honorary Consul Zahid Raza, who was fatally shot last month.

However, he said it was irresponsible to link Zahid's assassination to MH370.

"I don't think that it is related. It is also irresponsible and premature to speculate as the case is still under police investigation," said Liow.

Zahid was brutally gunned down on Aug 24 in Antananarivo, the island's capital.

Police said they were still investigating the motive behind the crime as there was no indication it was a robbery.

Zahid, a prominent businessman in Madagascar, was appointed as honorary consul for a three-year term in 2013.

Flight MH370 disappeared en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014 with all 239 on board.

The plane was said to have ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.

Several pieces of the aircraft have since washed up along Madagascar's coasts, although the crash site has yet to be located.