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MH370: “Who Pays?” Report Out on Thursday

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By Athena Yenko | May 1, 2014 3:49 PM EST

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said that preliminary report on missing MH370 will be made public Thursday.

The report consists contents from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by the Department of Civil Aviation, The Star Online reports.

"I don't think it's an issue for us to make (the report) public. This is the way forward," he said speaking to reporters at the ERL (express railway link) station at KLIA2.

With updates to the search for the missing plane being broadcasted across different media, the interesting data from the report will be on which nation will be paying as the search enters new phase.

Previously, Malaysia said that cost will not be a problem. However, Hussein sung a different tune during the press conference.

 "As we go into deep sea search, it is important that the cost be discussed with all stakeholders. When we have consensus and agreement, probably by next week, we will announce the cost-sharing. But we won't know what the cost will be until we have ascertained where we will be searching, what assets will used and who is going to supply (the assets)," Hussein said.

According to a report from Reuters, the search for the missing plane now amounts to at least $44 million with just the deployment of military ships and aircraft in Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

Apparently, US implied it would want to bail out from spending.

"We're already at tens of millions. Is it worth hundreds of millions?. I don't know. That's for them to decide. We're not going to pay to perpetually use the equipment on an indefinite basis. Basically from here on out - starting next week or so - they need to pick up the contract," a senior U.S. defense official told Reuters.

Australia, leading the search in the southern vector, will be allotting additional $60 million for the new search, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced Monday. During the announcement, Mr Abbott said that he will be "seeking some appropriate contribution from other nations."

A former government official with foreign policy experience told Reuters that Australia is giving importance to its diplomatic tie with Malaysia more than the hefty cost of the search. The official said that such diplomatic tie enhanced during tragedies like the MH370, is of great diplomatic advantage. In the days to come, Australia may ask 'favours' relating to its asylum seekers or tourists detained on drugs in Malaysia.

China, on the other hand, has yet to confirm how much it is willing to spend for the new search - this even with grieving Chinese families already distressed.

"On the specific questions you just asked (about money), we will maintain communication and coordination with the Australian and Malaysian sides," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

"The Malaysian government will find the money for this search. The country's reputation is at stake and you don't want to risk that," a Malaysian official on the other hand told Reuters.

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