MALAYSIA TO SET UP BLACK BOX LAB BY NEXT YEAR

RM5m fa­cil­ity will an­a­lyse civil and mil­i­tary flight data recorders lo­cally

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

START­ING next year, the au­thor­i­ties will no longer have to send flight data recorders (FDRs), or black boxes, over­seas for anal­y­sis.

This comes about as the Trans­port and De­fence Min­istries have em­barked on a joint ini­tia­tive to set up Malaysia’s very own black box lab­o­ra­tory.

Deputy Trans­port Min­is­ter Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi said his min­istry’s Air Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bureau (AAIB) signed a me­moran­dum of understanding with the De­fence Min­istry’s Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Re­search In­sti­tute for De­fence (Stride) to de­velop the ca­pa­bil­ity to read black boxes.

“This ini­tia­tive will see AAIB and Stride of­fi­cers be­ing sent to ei­ther the United King­dom or Aus­tralia, where Malaysia will get the as­sis­tance in terms of ex­per­tise in black box anal­y­sis.

“Once we have this ca­pa­bil­ity, Malaysia will no longer need to send our black box over­seas when there is a need for anal­y­sis,” he said af­ter a cer­e­mony in which the gov­ern­ment signed 35 agree­ments at the Langkawi International Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion 2017 (Lima 2017) here yes­ter­day.

The MoU be­tween AAIB and Stride was one of the 35 agree­ments.

Aziz said the min­istries were spend­ing RM5 mil­lion to cre­ate the lab­o­ra­tory, adding that his min­istry would be in charge of analysing data recorders from civil­ian air­craft, while mil­i­tary air­craft FDRs would be un­der Stride.

De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein said the move was prompted by the coun­try’s ex­pe­ri­ences in air in­ci­dents.

He said while Malaysia mourned the tragedies of Malaysia Air­lines Flight MH370 and MH17, the coun­try must also learn from ex­pe­ri­ence.

The 35 agree­ments, worth more than RM3.82 bil­lion, in­volved 11 con­tracts, 12 MoUs, seven let­ters of ac­cep­tance and five let­ters of in­tent.

The De­fence Min­istry alone inked RM3.71 bil­lion worth of deals, in­clud­ing a RM1.71 bil­lion deal with Boustead Naval Ship­yard Sdn Bhd for the ac­qui­si­tion of four lit­toral mis­sion ships (LMS).

Other deals in­cluded a RM496.5 mil­lion con­tract with Se­icom Sys­tem Sdn Bhd for the pro­cure­ment of its Earth Satel­lite Sys­tem and in­fra­struc­ture, and a RM371.7 mil­lion agree­ment with Aero­space Tech­nol­ogy Sys­tems Corp Sdn Bhd for a three­year con­tract and ceil­ing amount ex­ten­sion for the sup­ply of ar­ti­cles, per­for­mance of ser­vices and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance pro­vi­sion for the Royal Malaysian Air Force.

Hisham­mud­din said this year’s Lima saw a 81 per cent in­crease in agree­ments signed by the gov­ern­ment for the De­fence Min­istry, as the to­tal at Lima 2015 was RM2.04 bil­lion.

“In today’s eco­nomic un­cer­tainty and bud­get con­straints, we still have the edge (in de­fence pro­cure­ment), and this is what we need to strengthen fur­ther.

“I be­lieve that when the econ­omy be­comes more re­silient, we can do more.

“The most im­por­tant thing is that all three stake­hold­ers — the min­istry, armed forces and de­fence in­dus­try — must work to­gether to face the chal­lenges.”

Hisham­mud­din added that the sign­ing of the con­tract for the Royal Malaysian Navy’s four new LMS proved that the gov­ern­ment was not giv­ing empty prom­ises.

PIC BY DA­NIAL SAAD

De­fence Min­istry sec­re­tary-gen­eral Datuk Seri Ab­dul Rahim Mohd Radzi (sec­ond from left) ex­chang­ing doc­u­ments with Boustead Naval Ship­yard Sdn Bhd chief ex­ec­u­tive Tan Sri Lodin Che Wok in Langkawi yes­ter­day.

With them is De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hisham­mud­din Hus­sein (cen­tre).

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