KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia has so far spent approximately RM27.6 million (S$10.8 million) on search-and-recovery (SAR) operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
The cost was for food and fuel for Malaysian agencies that took part in the search.
The five agencies were the Royal Malaysian Airforce, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Police, Fire and Rescue Department and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
"The cost that we had to bear is relatively small compared with the other assets given by other countries used in the search.
"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," he told the reporters at the Parliament lobby on Monday.
He said the overall cost of the search so far was very high and it was fortunate that some countries were footing their own bills.
"This is what we have spent and I hope this will dispel any questions raised regarding the matter and that is why I am announcing it here today," said Mr Hishammuddin.
MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later, while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24 - 17 days after the disappearance of the aircraft - that Flight MH370 had "ended in the southern Indian Ocean", following analysis of data released by United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat.
So far, no debris from the aircraft has been spotted.