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Malaysia discussing with international experts on custody of MH370 black box: Minister

Published on Apr 13, 2014 12:47 PM
Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (centre) answers questions as he provides an update on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during the 14th Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur on April 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

Malaysia is in discussion with international agencies and experts on who has custody of the black box of missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, said Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Sunday.

"The Attorney General is in the UK discussing... with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and experts based on international and domestic laws, who actually does have custody of the black box," he told reporters at the Defence Services Asia exhibition.

But he reiterated that the current focus is on locating the plane.

The search for the missing plane entered its second month with no breakthroughs so far, with Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott warning on Saturday that the hunt would likely take a long time.

Mr Hishammuddin also refuted a report by a Malaysian newspaper that MH370 co-pilot r Fariq Abdul Hamid had made a telephone call when the plane was flying low near Penang on March 8.

"As far as I know, no, but that would be in the realm of the police.

"I don't want to speculate for the respect of families of the pilot and co-pilot, and I don't want to disturb the investigations."

He also refuted claims by another Malaysian newspaper that Diego Garcia was involved in the disappearance of MH370.

"It's not true. Like any Western media, they are free to report whatever they want to report but at end of the day, if their reporting is false, then they lose credibility.

"If it's true, there won't be such a strong presence of the US here now," Mr Hishammuddin, who is also Defence Minister, said.

Diego Garcia is an atoll in the Indian Ocean where the United States Military has a naval base as well as an air base and runway able to accommodate large aircraft.