Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia and Australia will share the cost of the next phase of the search for a Malaysian Airlines plane that went missing more than three months ago, a senior official said on Monday.

“Costs will be shared 50-50 between Malaysia and Australia,” deputy defence minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said, adding that there were no figures yet for how much they would have to spend.

The Australia Transport Safety Board last week issued a tender to continue the deep-water search for the Beijing-bound MH370 that disappeared on March 8 and is suspected to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that Malaysia had spent 27.6 million ringgit (8.6 million dollars) in fuel and food for equipment and personnel in the search.

“The cost that we had to bear is relatively small compared to the other assets given by other countries used in the search,” he said in a press briefing.

Malaysian officials were to go to Canberra on Tuesday to discuss the next phase of the search. - Sapa-dpa