Talks on next phase of MH370 search

Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman leaves after...
Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman leaves after attending a news conference on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. REUTERS/Samsul Said
The Malaysian government has revealed it has spent just a fraction of what Australia has paid in the search for missing flight MH370, as officials from both countries prepare to meet to discuss the next phase of the mission.

Officials from Malaysia are expected in Canberra today for talks, including discussions around funding for the operation.

The Australian government has set aside almost $A90 million for the search - expected to be the most expensive in aviation history - but it's possible that figure could increase.

The head of the joint task force charged with finding MH370, Angus Houston, said today discussions around the next phase of the search would include negotiations with Malaysia over the cost of the search.

"The government has allocated $89.9 million. I think about $25 million of that is to go the defence force for the visual search they conducted," former defence force chief Air Chief Marshal Houston told the ABC.

"There's another $60 million that's been allocated for the underwater search."

"That money has been allocated but we're still to crunch, or still to negotiate the burden-sharing with for example Malaysia."

But a senior Malaysian government official has already said Australia was expected to share the cost of the next phase, adding there were no figures yet for how much would have to be spent.

"Costs will be shared 50-50 between Malaysia and Australia," Malaysia's Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said.

The comments came as Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein confirmed his government had spent 27.6 million ringgit ($A9.30 million) in fuel and food for equipment and personnel in the search.

"The cost that we had to bear is relatively small compared to the other assets given by other countries used in the search," Mr Hishammuddin said.

"I am proud that many of our friends have come forward to help in the search, and they bear their own expenses and have not made any claims from us."

More than three months have passed since the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard - including six Australians.

The Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but an extensive search has turned up no sign of wreckage.

The Australia Transport Safety Board last week issued a tender to continue the deep-water search for the ill-fated flight.

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