Malaysia ready to reopen MH370 investigation

A person holds a flower during a remembrance event in Subang Jaya, Malaysia marking the 10th...
A person holds a flower during a remembrance event in Subang Jaya, Malaysia marking the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370. Photo: Reuters
Malaysia is willing to re-open an investigation into one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 in 2014, if there is compelling new evidence, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday.

Malaysia, along with Australia and China, ended in January 2017 a fruitless two-year, $130-million underwater hunt for the Boeing 777 that vanished with 239 aboard en route to Beijing from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.

"We have taken the position that if there is a compelling case, evidence that it needs to be re-opened, we're certainly happy to re-open," Anwar told a press conference in Melbourne.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a summit of Australia and the ASEAN grouping of Southeast Asian nations, a day after the country's transport minister said it was pushing for a renewed search.

"Whatever needs to be done must be done," Anwar said

Malaysian investigators initially did not rule out the possibility that the aircraft had been deliberately taken off course, and debris, some confirmed and some believed to be from the aircraft, has washed up along the coast of Africa and on islands in the Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said US seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity had been invited to discuss its latest search proposal after two previous failed attempts.

"The Malaysian government is committed to the search (for MH370) and the search must go on," Loke said at a remembrance event on Sunday.

Malaysia engaged Ocean Infinity in 2018 to search the southern Indian Ocean, offering to pay up to $US70 million ($NZ114m) if it found the plane.

Malaysia, China and Australia earlier had ended a fruitless two-year, $A200 million ($NZ214m) underwater hunt in January 2017.

Loke said Malaysia would talk to Australia about cooperation in resuming the search once Ocean Infinity's proposal is approved by Malaysia's cabinet.

V.P.R. Nathan, whose wife Anne Daisy was on the flight, said Ocean Infinity's proposal, which includes a "no find, no fee" option, was welcome.

"We want the search to carry on but we also have to be realistic. We cannot expect the government to spend billions (on the search)," Nathan said.

Jiang Hui, a Chinese national whose mother was a passenger on MH370, called on Malaysia to provide relatives with the latest information it receives.

"As long as there is communication, we can avoid misunderstanding," said Jiang, who is among family members who filed a lawsuit in China demanding compensation over the plane's disappearance.

A Beijing court began compensation hearings in November.

More than 150 Chinese passengers were on the flight, with relatives demanding compensation from Malaysia Airlines, Boeing, aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce and the Allianz insurance group among others.