I am of the opinion that the declaration now is only for one purpose to facilitate compensation for family and defendants. We would only know whether it was an accident or caused by some other wrongdoing once we find the plane and complete all investigations.
I am also sad at the reaction of Malaysian Government in taking action against a person who had a differing view - this is clearly undemocratic and against the freedom of expression.
Below is the announcement on MH370 by the DG of the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia -and if one reads the full statement, we understand it better...
'....on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives...'
NO. 27, PERSIARAN PERDANA,
Monday, 29 January 2015
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION MALAYSIA
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, members of the media.
1. My name is Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia and I am here today in my capacity as the Chairman of the MH370 High Level Technical Task Force (HLTTF).
2. As you are aware, the HLTTF was formed to coordinate technical matters relating to MH370.
4. There were 227 passengers, 2 flight crew and 10 cabin crew on board.
- Australia (4 Aircraft, 2 vessels)
6. Other countries unable to send physical assets also provided invaluable support in other ways. Many individuals also stepped up to provide assistance in whatever way they could.
7. Malaysia is greatly indebted to all the countries and individuals for all the assistance and support received. We offer our heartfelt gratitude for the generosity of response in a dark hour in the history of the aviation industry.
8. The search and rescue phase was carried out from 8 March 2014 to 28 April 2014 where the search area covered the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean.
9. Following the announcement by the Australian Government on 28 April 2014, the search and rescue phase transitioned to a search and recovery phase.
10. On 28 April 2014, the search coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) moved to an underwater phase led by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). Malaysia and China sent their respective experts and assets to assist JACC and ATSB in this phase.
11. This phase of the search included the use of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and bathymetry survey capabilities. The Bathymetry Survey has completed covering an area of around 208,000 square kilometres.
13. The underwater search is still ongoing at this time and the exercise is currently being performed by 4 vessels, namely the Go Phoenix, Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and Fugro Supporter. To date, the search has covered over 18,600 square kilometres (as of 28 Jan15).
15. Chapter 1 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (commonly referred to as the “Chicago Convention”) and entitled “Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation” states that the definition of the term“accident” includes “the aircraft is missing”. It also states that “an aircraft is considered to be missing when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located”. Annex 12 to the Chicago Convention entitled “International Standards and Recommended Practices” for search and rescue, further states that the term “search” refers to an operation to locate persons in distress.
17. It was in compliance with these ICAO Standards in Annexes 12 and 13 that on 28 April 2014, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) advised that the search was transitioning from a search and rescue operation to a search and recovery phase.
18. Available data suggests that after the transponder ceased transmitting,there was no normal radio or aircraft system (ACARS) communications transmitted or received from the aircraft. Hence, we relied on the only available data, which was the Satellite Communication (SATCOM)/Inmarsat data as well as Aircraft Performance Data.
19. An analysis of the radar data and subsequent satellite communication (SATCOM) system signaling messages placed the aircraft in the Australian search and rescue zone on an arc in the southern Indian Ocean. This arc was considered to be the location close to where the aircraft’s fuel would have been exhausted.
20. Based on the analysis of all available evidence and the supporting factual information that I have mentioned, this data supports the conclusion that MH370 ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.
21. Based on the same data, we have concluded that the aircraft exhausted its fuel over a defined area of the southern Indian Ocean, and that the aircraft is located on the sea floor close to that defined area. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is also an area with adverse sea conditions with known depths of more than 6,000 metres.
22. After 327 days (as of 28 Jan15) and based on all available data as well as circumstances mentioned earlier, survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely.
23. It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.
NEXT OF KIN
Thirteen nations have also lost sons and daughters to this tragedy. It is nonetheless important that families try to resume normal lives, or as normal a life as may be possible after this sudden loss. Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process.
25. The Government of Malaysia also assures the families of the passengers and crew that the search for MH370 remains a priority. The Government of Malaysia, is committed to continue all reasonable efforts to bring closure to this unfortunate tragedy, with the continuing cooperation and assistance of the Governments of China and Australia.
26. The Government of Malaysia assures that Malaysia Airlines will undertake their responsibilities in relation to the legitimate rights and interests of the next-of-kin as provided under the relevant international instruments and relevant domestic laws, with due consideration to international practice.
This includes the fulfilment of the compensation process, whether it is pursued through consultation or through litigation. We further understand that Malaysia Airlines is ready to proceed immediately with the compensation process, with due regard for the readiness of the next-of-kin to take this step.
27. In keeping with our commitments to keep the next-of-kin apprised of the latest developments and pertinent verified information, a special section has been established on the MH370 official website, http://www.mh370.gov.my, solely for the next-of-kin. It includes information on the search and investigation efforts, the compensation process, responses to NOK’s inquiries as well as other forms of assistance that are available to the next-of-kin. It is hoped that this dedicated portal will provide a continuing support system for the next-of-kin.
29.Both investigations are limited by the lack of physical evidence at this time, particularly the flight recorders. Therefore at this juncture there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident. An interim statement detailing the progress of the safety investigation is expected to be released on or around the one year anniversary of the accident.
31.This declaration is by no means the end. We will forge ahead with the cooperation and assistance of the Governments of China and Australia. MH370, its passengers and its crew will always be remembered and honoured.
MH370: Malaysia declares flight disappearance an accident
Malaysia Airlines said they would be contacting the families to proceed with the compensation process.
But in China, some family members refused to accept the official position that the plane was lost.
"They have found nothing," said Li Jingxin whose brother is missing.
"With nothing found, how can they make any announcement?''
He told the Associated Press news agency that his family would not accept compensation from the airline at this time.
Analysis: Jennifer Pak, BBC News, Kuala Lumpur
In a pre-recorded statement on national TV, the Malaysian authorities announced that the disappearance of flight MH370 was an accident and that there were no survivors.
But some families were upset that the government decided on the fate of their loved ones without any concrete evidence.
Others complained on social media that the authorities should have informed the families before making the announcement.
Ten months on, it is clear that the Malaysian government is struggling to rebuild trust with families of the victims.
Many have refused to begin the compensation process, worrying that if they do then officials will stop searching for the plane.
However, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai says the governments of Malaysia, China and Australia remain firmly committed to the ongoing search.
Four vessels are currently searching the seafloor with specialised sonar technology in a remote stretch of ocean where the plane is believed to have ended its flight.
Based on analysis of satellite and aircraft performance data, MH370 is thought to be in seas far west of the Australian city of Perth.
The DCA plans to release an interim report on its crash investigation on 7 March.
Twitter user in police probe for calling MH370 disappearance a ‘conspiracy’
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has told the police to investigate the user named "Fazel", who tweeted at the handle @ollie_mollie.
Khalid, who tweets at @KBAB51, posted a screenshot of Fazel's tweet and issued instructions: "PCIRC @PDRMsia Sila kesan dan siasat 'Fazel' di bawah ini" (Please identify and investigate this 'Fazel').
PCIRC is the Police Cyber Investigation Response Centre while @PDRMsia is the Twitter handle for the Royal Malaysian Police. In the screenshot, Fazel had tweeted a response to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's condolence message to the families of those on MH370.
Fazel had said, "@NajibRazak jib jib..it's not an accident, it's a conspiracy".
His account with the handle @ollie_mollie has since been deleted after a few other Twitter users challenged him to provide evidence for his conspiracy claim.
The police, at the handle @PDRMsia, responded to Khalid's instruction with a reply, "Tan Sri @KBAB51, tindakan sedang diambil oleh pihak PCIRC".
Khalid has in recent times taken to his Twitter account to publicise certain cases, particularly those that involve the Sedition Act and criticism of the authorities.
He announced a probe into human right lawyer Eric Paulsen for accusing the religious authorities of spreading extremism through Friday prayers.
He also reminded Malaysians not to take Malaysia's harmony for granted, warning them of police action if the threatened the peace and security.
He has also used Twitter to demand action against other social media users who have criticised him online.
Former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan, while not naming Khalid specifically, had said that police should not reveal too much of their work on social media. – January 30, 2015.