Malaysia on Wednesday announced its decision to end an agreement with a private American firm searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in 2014, Reuters reported. The search will end on May 29, said transport minister Anthony Loke.

In January, the government had agreed to pay exploration company Ocean Infinity $70 million (Rs 478 crore) if it solved what has become modern aviation’s biggest mystery.

“We want to know the details of this [search], the necessity of this, and if we find it is not necessary, we will not renew,” newly-elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said earlier in the day after chairing his first cabinet meeting since taking office on May 10. “We may terminate it if it is not useful.”

Voice 370, a group representing the relatives of the 239 people who were on the flight, called on the government to review all matters related to MH370’s disappearance, including “any possible falsification or elimination of records related to MH370 and its maintenance”.

“We urge the new government to include as part of its agenda in the next 100 days...a further investigation and inquiry into any act or omission across the entire spectrum of operations that may have impaired tracking, search, rescue and recovery,” the group said in a statement.

The new administration announced decisions to cut government spending after reviewing the country’s debt levels. The country has a debt of $252 billion (Rs 17 lakh crore), which has been inflated by borrowing by a state investment company that is at the center of a multi-billion-dollar corruption scandal, Bloomberg reported. Former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who lost the elections to Mohamad, is one of the suspects in the case. On May 12, the government banned him from leaving the country.

Mysterious disappearance

The aircraft went missing on March 8, 2014 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. Several teams from different countries have looked for the Boeing 777 in a 1.2 lakh-sq-km area of the Indian Ocean.

Australia, China and Malaysia ended fruitless attempts to solve the mystery in January 2017. The hunt for the aircraft was also riddled with controversy, with many experts saying the teams were searching for the flight in the wrong area. Debris from the aircraft was found on the French island of Reunion, in Mozambique, South Africa, Rodrigues Island and Mauritius, among other sites.

Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off the transponder of the aircraft, making it difficult to trace.