Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia on Saturday said the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 will continue even as families of the victims questioned why authorities did not inform them before declaring the mysterious disappearance as accident.
Transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said the welfare of the next-of-kin was the government's top priority.
He pledged that the search for the plane will go on, with no expense spared.
"It will continue for however long it takes, there is no time limit," Liow said.
"We will need to devise a more comprehensive plan," he said, adding that Thursday's announcement declaring the plane's mysterious disappearance as an accident and all 239 people, including five Indians, on board as presumed dead, was to help the next-of-kin move on with life.
Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of crew member Patrick Gomes, said the families had been told that they would be informed immediately of any new developments and were shocked when the announcement declaring the tragedy as an accident was made yesterday, New Straits Times reported.
"It should not have happened. We had to watch on TV with the rest of the world the announcement that our loved ones were no longer with us.
"This is not the way to tell someone who may have lost their spouse, their father, their sister or mother," she told reporters at a press conference by Voice370, an MH370 family support organisation.
Grace Subathirai, 27, the daughter of passenger Anne Daisy, expressed concern that the declaration had been made prematurely, given that the search for the aircraft had not yet concluded.
She said even if the announcement was made to allow compensation claims to proceed, most families had not accepted earlier compensation offers as many were still hoping that their relatives were safe, the paper quoted her as saying.
The plane disappeared on March 8 last year while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The Malaysian government has declared the plane as accident to enable next of kin to get compensation and insurance.