Royal messages of sympathy
Hakim Hayat

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday consented to send separate messages of sympathy to President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Laila Utama Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak following the recent loss of an aircraft involving Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, bound for Beijing, China was reported missing at 2.40am last Saturday when it lost communication with air traffic controllers and simply vanished from the radar, without any indication of emergency or distress.

In the message to President Xi, His Majesty expressed his deep concern upon hearing of the incident involving flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing which had nationals of the People’s Republic of China on board.

His Majesty stated that the government and people of Brunei Darussalam join him in conveying their deepest sympathies as well as their thoughts and prayers to the people and government of China, especially to the families of all the affected passengers in this difficult time.

In the message to the Malaysian Prime Minister, His Majesty expressed his deep sadness at the report of the lost aircraft and added that His Majesty as well as the government and people of Brunei Darussalam prayed to Allah the Almighty that all efforts to locate the aircraft and its missing passengers would be successful.

His Majesty and the people of Brunei Darussalam hoped that the Malaysian Prime Minister and people of Malaysia, especially the families involved, would be patient and steadfast.

Meanwhile, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in Brunei said it was ready to render staff and technical assistance to the Malaysian government and their counterparts as search and rescue operations intensified with more countries around the region including the US and Australia joining hands in one of the largest rescue operations in recent times.

Brunei’s Ministry of Defence, in response to queries posed by the Borneo Bulletin yesterday, said, “Our ships are patrolling in our waters and are already in search and rescue (SAR) mode.”

From carrying out their routine duties, the Royal Brunei Navy’s Darussalam Class has been instructed to switch to SAR, joining the likes of Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia as well as the United States who have committed their respective air and sea fleets to assist in the search.

The area of Brunei’s navy patrol, it was added, covers 200 nautical miles within the Sultanate’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The DCA said after learning about the incident involving the Boeing 777-200, it is closely monitoring latest developments and is in close contact with the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (MDCA).

The DCA also confirmed that no Bruneian passengers were on the missing flight.

Meanwhile, the DCA advised the public to refrain from making any speculations on the incident and spread unofficial or unverified information found in the social media. - Borneo Bulletin (10 March 2014)