The raw satellite data sought by the family members of passengers and crew onboard flight MH370 can only be released by British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today.

Hishammuddin was responding to questions by the media on the demand made by the next-of-kin for the release of all raw data, including satellite information, in their hopes that “the whole world can help look for the plane”.

The families had also suggested that the government can buy over the data so that it can be accessed and analysed by outside experts.

“The raw data is not in the hands of Malaysia, Australia or MAS. What needs to be confirmed or released can only be done by Inmarsat themselves,” Hishammuddin told reporters at a media briefing this evening on the still missing Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

'Who will be responsible?'

Meanwhile, asked about the insistent claim made by Australian Geological survey firm GeoResonance that the plane could be in the Bay of Bengal, Hishammuddin said searches have found nothing so far.

“We have used and asked for the Bangladeshi military and India as well. We have not found anything.

“If we want to go into more detailed search, it would involve commercial assets. We have vessels that are able to do it. (But) that would be at the expense time spent for the search and secondly it is going to be expensive... I leave it to the experts to decide whether we go further.

“Who is going to be responsible if the finding is negative?” he added.

MH370 search in transition phase

Hishammuddin said that the international operations are entering a “transition phase” that was prioritising deep sea search.

All air and sea surface search has been suspended at the moment, he said.

Asked on costs of the search, Hishammuddin said that there were “third parties” that have shown willingness to help if it went beyond Malaysia’s capabilities. However, he did not want to reveal who the parties were.

On March 8, 12.41am, flight MH370 with 239 people on board took off from the KL International Airport for Beijing, China before going off the radar less than an hour later.

The 69-day international search for the missing jetliner, is now focused in the southern Indian Ocean, off the west coast of Australia has proven fruitless so far.