News / Asia

Australian, Malaysian Leaders in Perth as Search for Jet Continues

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, walks along the tarmac with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on their way to meet crew members involved in search of wreckage and debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in Perth, Australia, Thursday,
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, walks along the tarmac with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on their way to meet crew members involved in search of wreckage and debris of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in Perth, Australia, Thursday,
The prime minister of Malaysia, whose government is under criticism for its handling of the investigation into the disappearance of a jetliner on a flight to China, has gone to Australia to speak with the crews involved in the search for the aircraft. Meanwhile, an attack on a Malaysian island resort is likely to further exacerbate the relationship between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, already under strain due to the airliner mystery.
 
Australia’s prime minister is trying to manage expectations about the likelihood of finding any trace of a missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet in remote waters in the southern Indian Ocean.
 
PM Tony Abbott spoke alongside his Malaysian counterpart during a visit to an Australian air force base, where multi-national teams are staging a search the Australia’s leader terms “the most difficult in human history.”
 
"We cannot be certain of ultimate success in the search for the MH370. But we can be certain that we will spare no effort, that we will not rest, until we have done everything we humanly can,” said Abbott.  
 
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters he remains hopeful something will be found. 
 
“As I speak 10 aircrafts and nine ships are searching the Indian Ocean for any sign of the missing plane. The search area is vast and the conditions are not easy. But the new refined area of search has given us new hope,” said Najib.
 
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared nearly one month ago on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane was carrying 239 people. Most of the passengers were Chinese nationals.
 
Australia has taken the lead for the search by military personnel from seven countries (Australia, Britain, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States). Efforts are now focused on waters about 1,600 kilometers off Australia’s northwest coast.
 
Search planes Thursday were flying over a 223,000 square kilometer zone. Two weeks of scouring the southern India Ocean has not yielded any trace of the Boeing 777.
 
The battery of the aircraft’s black box is expected to lose power sometime in the coming days. Without that signal, it will become much more challenging to locate any significant parts of the plane, now believed to have sunk to the ocean floor.
 
An Australian warship, The Ocean Shield, is on the way with an American device that can detect "pings" from the flight recorders.
 
A British nuclear-powered submarine with advanced underwater search capability, HMS Tireless, and a British survey ship, HMS Echo, are also now part of the operation.
 
Meanwhile, there is a new irritant for relations between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur, already strained over the disappearance of flight MH370.
 
Authorities said members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group from the Philippines are the suspects in a raid that occurred late Wednesday at the Singamata Reef Resort, in Sabah state in eastern Malaysia, in which a Chinese national was abducted. 
 
Kidnapped at gunpoint by six men armed with pistols were a 28-year-old female tourist from Shanghai and a 40-year Filipino male receptionist at the dive resort. The gunmen fled in a speedboat.
 
Abu Sayyaf is also suspected of killing a Taiwanese tourist who was kidnapped from a resort in the Semporna area last November.
 
Abu Sayyaf has been linked to al-Qaida, but analysts say a U.S.-assisted military push into Sulu province in the southern part of the Philippines has weakened the group. It is still believed to have several hundred fighters and holding at least a dozen captives.
 
Error rendering storify.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More