Jump to navigation Jump to search

Malaysian Legislation and MH370

This page lists some of the Malaysian legislation which has been referred to in official documents related to Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Relevant extracts have been linked from the quotes below, and are also linked from other articles in this website.

The extracts are not complete; this is not an attempt to cover the legal aspects of the MH370 disaster; and it is not intended to provide or infer legal advice. It is merely a quick reference to parts of legislation which have been referred to in other documents.

Also, it should be noted that the extracts, where provided, are intended to be current as at March 2014, not the present.

Penal Code section 130C

Certificate of Presumed Death

Malaysia Civil Aviation Regulations 1966
International Investigation Team

I will now update you on the International Investigation Team. Cabinet has deliberated and approved the appointment of an International Investigation Team to investigate the MH370 incident. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) has been tasked to draft the Terms of Reference for the investigation team. As I’ve announced previously, the sub committee, led by Aziz Kaprawi, Deputy Minister of Transport has been assigned the task to coordinate the formation of the International Investigation Team. On that note, Malaysia as the Contracting State and a Council Member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will observe and comply with the standards and recommended practices of ICAO set mainly to look into the safety of international civil aviation. The main purpose of the International Investigation Team is to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the incident so similar incidents could be avoided in the future. I would also like to note that the investigation will not include criminal aspects which are under the purview of the Royal Malaysian Police. This investigation will be carried out in accordance with the Civil Aviation Regulation 1966 and the standards set under Annex 13 - Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, the Chicago Convention, which requires each party to investigate air accidents independently with full powers in their respective countries. The Aviation Accident Investigation Bereau (BSKU –Biro Siasatan Kemalangan Udara) which was established since December 2011 under the Ministry of Transport will act as the Secretariat for this investigation team.


  • The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was created in 1944 when 52 countries signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation in Chicago, known as the Chicago Convention. The ICAO is now an agency of the United Nations and has 191 members. (Malaysia became a member in 1958). The Chicago Convention is supplemented by 19 Annexes. Annex 13 relates to Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.
  • As a signatory to the Convention, Malaysia has enacted legislation consistent with its' responsibilities as a Member State of the ICAO.
  • This legislation includes the Civil Aviation Act 1969 and Malaysia Civil Aviation Regulations 1996, administered by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Malaysia
  • The Department of Civil Aviation is part of the portfolio of the Minister for Transport, Hishammuddin Hussein who was both the Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport.
  • Also within Ministry of Transport is the Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau (BSKU –Biro Siasatan Kemalangan Udara), which is responsible for the independent safety investigation of air accidents and serious incidents, such as flight MH370.

In summary,

  1. Responsibility for investigating an air accident or incident, such as flight MH370, is delegated to the Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau.
  2. Authority to investigate is defined within the Malaysia Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 - see Regulations 122 to 129, and Regulation 138, which have been extracted for easy reference. And,
  3. The Process for an Investigation is described in ICAO Annex 13.

Note that the objective of an Investigation by the Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau is the prevention of accidents and incidents, not to apportion blame or liability, and therefore excludes criminal aspects which are investigated by the Royal Malaysian Police (as above). Therefore, in the case of flight MH370 there are at minimum two information silos - an investigation by the AAIB; and the investigation by the RMP.