MH370: Malaysia “hardly spent anything”, Thanks to Australia, China and US

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By Athena Yenko | May 16, 2014 2:53 PM EST

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia "hardly spent anything" in the whole course of the search for the missing MH370.

Speaking in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur he said that Australia, China  and the United States have generously contributed to the search.

"The search has not cost us anything at all, considering this is the largest search in the aviation history. As far as Malaysia is concerned, the cost is for deploying our military assets. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been with us in the earlier phase of the search," he told press.

Mr Hishammuddin mentioned that Australia's contribution of $89.9 million for the estimated two-year search only makes up a ceiling amount.

"In this new phase, we have not estimated our cost and to be fair to Australia, we should share it but the actual amount has not been determined because we need to identify the exact location and the assets needed to be deployed," he explained.

Mr Hishammuddin said that Australia will undertake procurements for the employment of commercial contractors, in consultation with Malaysia, as agreed during the tripartite meeting in Canberra.

"The procurement process will be done through an open or limited tender process based on Commonwealth standards to facilitate cost-effectiveness and best value for money. Malaysia and China will be consulted and detailed briefings will be provided at each step of the process. The meeting also emphasised the requirement that these contracts be put in place as soon as possible to ensure that search operations are not interrupted. Besides the commercial assets, Malaysia and China are also assigning specific assets for operations in this new phase," he said.

Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abd Rahim Bakri of the deployment committee said that Malaysia will pay the 50 per cent of the cost to procure assets that will aid the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC). Australia will be paying the other 50 per cent, Mr Bakri said.

"Whatever it is, the assets are going to be very expensive as they are rare and mostly owned by private companies. It has been agreed that Malaysia and Australia will share the cost to procure them. If there is a need for more assets, we will add them to the search," Mr Bakri said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines reported a dramatic net loss of RM442 million for the first quarter of 2014. In a statement, MAS admitted that the MH370 tragedy created a "dramatic impact" on its financial report.

Back in the conference, Mr Hishammuddin was asked if the government will be helping MAS to recover from its loss of revenue.

Mr Hishammuddin answered a stern "no."

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