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Cabinet change unlikely to affect MH370 search, says Hishammuddin

Prime Minister Najib Razak named MCA president Liow Tiong Lai as the new transport minister, in an announcement made on Wednesday.

TAWAU, Sabah: A change of transport minister is unlikely to adversely affect the search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370, said Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein who had been the acting transport minister until now.

Prime Minister Najib Razak named MCA president Liow Tiong Lai as the new transport minister, in an announcement made on Wednesday.

Hishammuddin said: "The change of transport minister does not pose any problem, so long as there is continuity. The important thing is for us to continue with the search.

"I am confident the new transport minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, is capable of discharging his duties well. Let's not worry because the structure is already there. I wish to inform the families of the (MH370) crew and passengers that I remain committed to help in the search mission."

Hishammuddin was speaking to reporters after a visit to the Malaysian Armed Forces' Joint Task Force 2 (ATB 2) headquarters in Tawau, with commander of the
United States' Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Lieutenant-General Terry Robling, on Thursday.

Hishammuddin said all quarters, particularly the families of the MH370 crew and passengers should have confidence in the commitment given by the government that it would not relent in the search for the missing plane.

"The commitment also comes from other countries, including China and Australia. A ministerial committee has been set up and today a high-level delegation is leaving for Beijing to discuss the next phase of the search mission. The delegation went to Canberra last week for discussions with Australia," he said.

Chinese nationals comprised the biggest number of the 227 passengers on board the missing plane. The search for the missing aircraft was conducted in the southern Indian Ocean out of Australia.

Investigators have been grappling with the mystery of the plane's disappearance on March 8 with 239 people on board, with months spent scouring the Indian Ocean and finding nothing.

On the visit, Hishammuddin said Malaysia and the United States had agreed to share their knowledge and experience in tackling security issues, especially in Sabah. 

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