KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may fork up to US$70 million (RM296.35mil) in new search missions for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi said the government, through the MH370 Response Team, is in talks with international subsea exploration company Ocean Infinity on the use of state-of-the-art technology to search for the plane.
The negotiation with the US company includes the cost of conducting further search missions for the ill-fated Boeing 777 aircraft.
"The government is in the process of evaluating the fees to be paid for additional search missions.
"Ocean Infinity has offered to provide the search missions on a ‘no cure – no pay’ basis (payment depends upon success and the recovery of property)," he said.
Ab Aziz added that the negotiation also touched on other aspects, including payment terms and schedule, such as whether the fee will paid after the actual wreckage of the plane is found.
The negotiation will also require that the wreckage is certified to be MH370 by the plane's manufacturer, Boeing.
"All these details are being looked into as the cost involved is high," he said in reply to Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong) during the Minister's Question and Answer (MQT) session in Dewan Rakyat.
Tan had asked if the government had embarked on any new efforts to locate the missing MH370 aircraft.
Ab Aziz said Malaysia, Australia and China, in line with the spirit of tripartite cooperation, will consider further search operations should there be new, credible leads.
He added that the comprehensive and detailed Final Report of Investigation is being prepared.
The report will be issued within one year from the suspension of the search operation which was announced on July 22 last year.
On March 8, 2014, MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew vanished over the Indian Ocean after leaving Kuala Lumpur enroute to Beijing.
It sparked a massive underwater search in the Indian Ocean, which ended in January, after no trace of the plane was found.