Malaysian minister heads to Aus for MH370 meeting

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai on Monday left for Australia to discuss the ongoing search for missing flight MH370 with his Australian and Chinese counterparts.

Liow assured the families of the 239 people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft that the search would continue for as long as necessary.

"We have maintained our resolve to continue with the search for this aircraft," he said in a statement before his departure.

Malaysia would also sign a memorandum of understanding with the Australian government "to solidify the collaboration for the search for MH370", Liow said.

The Beijing-bound flight MH370 disappeared without a trace on 8 March about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The plane was believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, but a huge search involving hundreds of ships and planes from over a dozen countries have failed to find a trace of the jet.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Liow's meeting in Australia would include issues related to sharing the expenses for the next phase of search operations.

He believed the cost "will be divided or shared among the three countries", the Bernama news agency quoted Hishammuddin as saying.

Australia has contracted a Dutch survey company Fugro Survey Pty Ltd to conduct a search of the sea floor. The company will use deep-water vehicles equipped with sonar and video cameras in the search that is expected to last up to 12 months starting in September at an estimated cost of $60m.