"The search goes beyond dollars and cents," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.
Malaysia on Saturday vowed to intensify the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, even as the nearly month—long multi—national search operations from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean failed to yield any clues.
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said his country will not stop searching for the jet and will not put a “dollar—and—cents” value to the ongoing operations.
“The search goes beyond dollars and cents,” he told a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur. “Malaysia will not stop looking for [flight] MH370.” His comments came after reports that the search for the Beijing—bound Boeing aircraft, with 239 people on board, has become the most expensive search—and—rescue operation in recent history.
The Beijing—bound flight disappeared on March 8 after taking off from the Malaysian capital.
“The search operation has been difficult, challenging and complex,” he said. “In spite of all this, our determination remains undiminished.” “We will continue the search with the same level of vigour and intensity,” he added. “We owe this to the families of those on board, and to the wider world.” Up to 13 aircraft and 11 ships have joined in the search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean off the coast of Perth, Australia.
A British submarine and two Australian vessels with underwater search equipment have intensified the underwater search in the hope of picking up a battery—powered signal from the plane’s black box. This signal could expire soon.
The search is focused on about 217,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, some 1,700 kilometres north—west of Perth.
Hishammuddin said that Malaysia will continue to lead the investigation and has accredited Australia, China, the United States, Britain and France to become part of the team.
He said the investigation team will be divided into three groups looking into airworthiness, operations, and medical and human factors, respectively.
Hishammuddin denied allegations by Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim that Malaysia was hiding something and was not forthright in providing information about the incident.
“These allegations are completely untrue,” he said. “As I have said before, the search for MH370 should be above politics.”