'History will judge us well' on MH370: Malaysia

Last Updated 26 March 2014, 21:53 IST

Malaysia's government said today that it would be judged favourably by posterity over its much-questioned handling of the crisis over missing flight MH370.

"I think history will judge us well," Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a daily press briefing on the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

Hishammuddin had been asked how Malaysia would be able to repair its image and "bruising" treatment by the international media.

"'Bruising,' I think is a bit too harsh because this is unprecedented," he said.
"Anybody who has gone through this, what we have gone through... has indicated to me that we have done quite an admirable job."

Malaysia's authoritarian government has come under international criticism over the unexplained disappearance of the plane on March 8.

The government, and flag carrier Malaysia Airlines, still say they have no idea what caused the plane to divert far off its intended Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route, enraging relatives who are demanding answers.

Malaysia's initial response to the crisis was plagued by contradictory statements and allegations that authorities wasted precious search time by taking a week to analyse Malaysian military radar that indicated the plane had veered out over the Indian Ocean.

The massive Malaysia-coordinated search effort was eventually reoriented to the Indian Ocean, away from an initial focus on the South China Sea.

"Not many countries in the world could get 26 countries to work together," Hishammuddin said, referring to the size of the international effort at its height.

"Not many countries can get all the most sophisticated planes from countries from every corner of the world to come and assist."

Malaysia said this week the plane was last detected by a satellite far in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, where it is presumed to have crashed.

Many of the next-of-kin of MH370 passengers, particularly Chinese relatives, angrily accuse the flag carrier and the Malaysian government of incompetence and withholding information.

A US law firm said earlier today that it had initiated what it called the first civil legal proceedings over the crash of flight MH370 and that it planned to pursue lawsuits seeking "millions of dollars" for aggrieved families.

(Published 26 March 2014, 21:53 IST)

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