HONG KONG: The Transport Ministry will have to wrap up negotiations with US firm Ocean Infinity on the search for MH370 before it can discuss the matter with Australia and China, said Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
The Transport Minister said the response team, led by Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, has had three or four meetings with the US seabed exploration outfit.
"There is no deadline given for the negotiations. We still have time as we also have to wait for the ocean to be calmer in January before any search mission can be conducted," he said.
Liow was speaking to Malaysian reporters here after delivering a special address at the World Chinese Economic Summit here on Monday.
Beijing-bound Flight MH370 went off the radar shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014. It had 239 passengers and crew members on board.
Australia, China and Malaysia, which jointly coordinated and funded the search operation, had in January this year suspended the search for MH370 when traces of the Boeing 777 could not be found in the 120,000 sq km search area of the southern Indian Ocean.
Liow added that the ministry needed to ascertain the terms and conditions of Ocean Infinity's "No Cure, No Fee" promise.
"What kind of wreckage to find? If there's a fee, how much is it asking for?
"We need to reach an agreement before we bring it to the tripartite level," he said.