PUTRAJAYA, Sept 6 (Bernama) -- Malaysia and Australia have committed to contribute AUD60 million (RM180 million) each in their quest to locate the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 aircraft whose flight path was believed to have ended in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the contribution was part of the new underwater search phase for the aircraft in the remote ocean sea bed.
"It will utilise the best available technology," he said, in a joint press conference with Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Malaysian prime minister's office here today.
Abbott is on a one-day official visit to Malaysia on Saturday to discuss bilateral issues, including the missing MH370, the downing of MAS MH17 in eastern Ukraine and trade arrangement.
Flight MH370, which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8, and disappeared from radar 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 in the South China Sea and Andaman Sea before Najib announced on March 24 that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". The search for the aircraft is ongoing.
Abbot said Australia had intended to build a memorial or monument to honour those on board the MH370 flight in the Australian western coastline.
"But it must be subject to the Malaysian Government and (consent of) the (victims') families," he said.
Meanwhile, Najib said during the fruitful meeting, he and Abbott had reaffirmed their commitment and unwavering support to continue with the search of the aircraft.
He said both of them were fully conscious and owed it to the affected families of the passengers and crew members of MH370 in finding for answers.
Najib also expressed profound gratitude, on behalf of the Malaysian Government and its people for the leadership role played by the Australian Government, including its ongoing support and resources dedicated in the complex and challenging exercise to search for MH370.
"In this regard, we recall the signing of the MoU (memorandum of understanding) between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Australia, in relation to MH370, which provides the framework and broad parametres for cooperation in the search for MH370," he said.