KUALA LUMPUR: The nation has so far spent about RM27.6mil on search-and-recovery (SAR) operations for MH370, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“The cost spent was on food and fuel for the Malaysian agencies that took part in the first phase of the SAR,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
The five agencies were the Royal Malaysian Air Force, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Police, Fire and Rescue Department and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
“The cost that we had to bear is relatively small compared with the other assets contributed by other countries in the search.
“I am proud that many of our friends have come forward to help in this search, and they had borne their own expenses, and have not made any claims from us,” he added.
Hishammuddin said the overall cost of the international search for MH370 involving 28 nations so far was very high, and it was fortunate that some countries were bearing their own costs.
“This is what we have spent and I hope this will dispel any doubts raised regarding the matter,” he added.
On the estimated costs involved for the ongoing search for MH370, Hishammuddin, who is also Defence Minister, said this would be determined following talks between Malaysia, Australia and China later this week.
On the Reward MH370, a crowd-funded campaign set up by several families of missing passengers and crew members, he said he was touched by the effort, which he viewed as the outworking of the need by the next-of-kin to feel a sense of belonging with the search effort.
Earlier, when answering a question raised by Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena), Hishammuddin confirmed that Boeing, the manufacturer of the missing B777-200 aircraft, had cooperated by sharing information during the search.
Hishammuddin said it was inaccurate to say that Boeing had remained silent on the matter, adding that there was no conspiracy of any sort as claimed by certain quarters.
Meanwhile, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Jailani Johari said the Government would arrange a meeting with the next-of-kin of those who were in the missing aircraft.
“The meeting will be arranged in due time and we look forward to establish a working template in dealing with issues raised by the next-of-kin,” said Jailani, who heads the Communications, Coordination and Media Committee, a ministerial subcommittee appointed to handle various issues regarding MH370.
Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Rahim Bakri, who is in charge of the Asset Deployment Committee, will lead a team to Canberra today to finalise the terms of Malaysia’s participation in the search operations.
Right after that, the Asset Deployment, Next-of-Kin, Technical and Communications, as well as the Coordination and Media committees will head to Beijing to discuss with the Chinese government its search plans.