MH370: Preliminary report likely to be released next week, says PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia will release a preliminary report on the disappearance of flight MH370, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

"I have directed an internal investigation team of experts to look at the report, and there is a likelihood that next week, we could release the report," Razak told CNN in an interview aired late Thursday.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 jet with 239 people aboard vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is now believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, where an Australian-led effort is under way to recover its flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein pledged earlier this month that any data eventually recovered from the plane's "black box" will be publicly released.

In his CNN interview, Najib also stressed that his government was not yet prepared to declare the passengers on board flight MH370 dead.

"At some point in time I would be, but right now I think I need to take into account the feelings of the next of kin - and some of them have said publicly that they aren't willing to accept it until they find hard evidence," Najib said.

But he added it was "hard to imagine otherwise".

Relatives of the passengers recently denounced the Malaysian government's suggestion that it would soon look into issuing death certificates for those on board despite no proof yet of what happened to the plane.