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Has to upgrade defence after parting with radar data: Malaysia

Last Updated: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 21:10

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia, forced to disclose sensitive military radar data to foreign countries in the frustrating search for the missing plane, today said it has to upgrade its defence system to strengthen its security.

"We`ve made a very courageous decision to put aside national security and interests by disclosing some of our sensitive military radar information in the early stages of the search and rescue mission," Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

"The situation now requires us to relook our needs in the future and, more importantly, we`re also looking in the context of the Asean region as a group," Hishammuddin, also the acting Transport Minister, handling the MH370 investigation, said.

He told reporters that said such a move was needed in view of the necessity to disclose sensitive military radar information in the search for the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 aircraft which vanished mysteriously on March 8.

Frustration over the fruitless search has increasingly been directed at Malaysian officials after a series of incorrect details given by the national airline and a long delay in divulging details of the military`s tracking of what could have been the plane hundreds of miles off course.

Under pressure from China, Malaysia had to share details of its military radar data to Beijing. Kuala Lumpur also had to share military radar data with other nations engaged in the hunt for the plane.

Hishammuddin made the comments after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Global Komited Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Weststar Group of Companies, and Thales UK here, the New Straits Times reported.

Aimed at promoting, marketing and distributing a wide range of ground-based air defence systems to the Malaysian armed forces, the MoU was inked at the Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference (DSA) 2014.

To a question, Hishammuddin said that surveillance technology was an area of interest, given what had happened in the MH370 incident.

The Malaysian jet with 239 passengers and crew on board disappeared from radar screens while over the South China Sea, about an hour into its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight on March 8.

Analysis of satellite data indicated that the aircraft, which veered thousands of kilometres off its intended flight path, flew along what is called the `southern corridor` in the direction of the Indian Ocean.

Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on March 24, seventeen days after the plane`s disappearance - that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". The hunt for the plane continues there.

First Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 - 21:10

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