Re: Ughh... bad news
Agree with the comment nearby of Glostermeteor's.
There are two major all-trumping concepts in Asia, "Responsibility" and "Face". All else is secondary.
1. The "filed" flight plan here was not necessarily the "intended" flight plan.
2. Anyone familiar with the Midnight to Eight shift knows the physical and mental conditioning required to stay alert, particularly necessary inside any radar aircraft controlling/surveillance operation.
3. IMHO, this was a hijack with unintended consequences.
4. The Malay and/or Vietnamese en route traffic controllers were not up to European standards. The major flight path deviation/alteration on the radar scopes went unnoticed for an unknown period of time during which the aircraft's IFF or whatever it's called now had been turned off.
So, all of this futile west-of-Perth search effort, based upon those increasingly vital "pings" from the engines has been, and remains a tragic wast of time and expensive facilities.
Methinks the intended destination was an abandoned Brit colonial airfield in Muslim Bangladesh. Dispose of the asphyxiated/dead passengers after a short-field landing after jettisoning unnecessary fuel, remove all passenger cabin fixtures/galleys/etc. Then effect a short field takeoff with vastly reduced weight. Head for another Muslim/Terrorist controlled facility for refitting as an aerial bomb.
The wise and wonderful Aussies are most sensibly having nothing to do with being the sole arbiters of what went wrong and bearing the sole party expected to yield results/opinions. Hence, their wise referral back, right back to the Malay Civil Aviation authorities for the official conclusions. The Malay authorities have the ultimate responsibility here.
There is no shifting away of this to save "face".