SEPANG, April 30 – The preliminary report on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 aircraft’s disappearance will be released tomorrow, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. He said the report would be similar to the one forwarded to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). “I don’t think there’s going to be any problem to issue it. But we have decided it as a team, that it’s going to be issued tomorrow. “The way forward and the consent that I requested in my negotiation with Australia and other stakeholders in the search, I tabled and reported it to the Cabinet this morning, and I got all the necessary mandate,” he told a press conference after opening the Express Rail Link (ERL) Station at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport2 (Klia2) here Wednesday.
The government commitment to release the report was voiced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last week. Hishammuddin, who is also defence minister, said he would be going to Australia next week to discuss the new phase of search operation for MH370 which now focused on deep sea search, including the financial aspect. He said any announcement pertaining to the cost of search for the new phase would also be made next week, if the stakeholders reached a consensus and agreement on it. “But we don’t know what the cost would be until we decide where to search, what assets are going to be used and who are going to supply those assets,” he said, adding that three ministerial committees had been working on the matter.
During a press conference in Canberra on Monday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the search was now entering a new phase with more focus to be given over a much larger underwater search area. He said it would involve commercial contractors with a high degree of specialisation in deep ocean search which would cost about AUD60 million (RM184 million). Abbott added that Australia would seek “some appropriate contribution” from other nations involved in the search operation. Flight MH370 with 239 people on board disappeared from radar screens about an hour into its flight while over the South China Sea on March 8. A multinational search was mounted for the plane, first in the South China Sea and then, it was learnt that the plane had veered off course and its flight path ended in the southern Indian Ocean.