Voice 370 urges govt to maintain RM270m fund for MH370 search

KUALA LUMPUR: When the 227 passengers and 12 crew members boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 for their journey to Beijing on March 8, 2014, little did they know that the world would not hear from them again.

It was supposed to be a routine flight, but less than an hour after takeoff, the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER, veered off its intended course and disappeared from radar screens. That was the last the world saw of MH370, save for some remnants that are said to be part of the aircraft’s wings.

The plane itself is believed to have ended up somewhere in the Indian Ocean, off the West Australian coast.

It has been five years and the world has largely moved on. Apart from the occasional references to attempts to locate the aircraft and the annual events to mark the tragedy, MH370 has made way for other stories.

But for the families of those who were on board the ill-fated flight, the pain has not gone away.

There is even a support group, aptly named Voice 370, to help keep the issue in the collective psyche.

It is now banking its hopes on the new government to “do more to encourage renewed efforts and to seek new clues” that will lead to the recovery of the missing plane.

At a remembrance event on March 3, Voice 370 spokesperson Grace Nathan urged the government to set aside up to US$70 million (RM273 million) to encourage exploration companies to take on “no cure no fee” missions.

This is the amount that the government had agreed to pay the seabed exploration company Ocean Infinity for its efforts, had they found the plane. The company began its search in January last year but ended the search months later without success.

What we know now is not conclusive. The latest report on the search would only go so far as to admit that it was “limited by a significant lack of evidence”.

Apart from the official narrative, there are conspiracy theories, including one that alleges that it was a suicide attempt by the pilot.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke has said the government was “more than willing” to resume the search if there were new leads.

Recently, there have been no new leads.

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