New MH370 search zone

KUALA LUMPUR - The new search zone for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 will be announced with the agreement of both Australia and China, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

The acting Transport Minister said the new phase involved a tripartite understanding between Malaysia, Australia and China.

"I think it will be too premature for us to announce it today.

"Where we are going to perform the search, that is very important for this new phase. Without knowing or deciding where the search area will be, it is going to be difficult for us to understand what sort of equipment is needed," he told reporters after launching the Military Religious Corps convention at Wisma Pertahanan here yesterday.

Hishammuddin said the bathymetric (ocean floor) survey was still being carried out.

The new search zone will follow new analysis of the plane's flight path and he had said last Friday that it was expected to be announced within two weeks.

Meanwhile, Hishammuddin again denied a report by Britain's Telegraph newspaper that Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah was the prime suspect behind the disappearance of MH370.

"Do not listen to speculation. I have been very consistent. It's not fair to the pilot's family. This time if you are wrong, how are we going to repair that damage?" he asked.

The daily quoted unnamed sources close to the investigators as saying that the route, which was deleted before MH370 disappeared on March 8, was made on the pilot's home flight simulator machine.

The Telegraph report stated that Capt Zaharie had plotted a flight path to a remote island far into the southern Indian Ocean where the search is now focused.