Malaysia will next week release a preliminary report into the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, as the government continues to face criticism over its handling of the investigation.

Malaysian officials said on Wednesday that the report had already been sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which requires countries to submit a factual run-down of what is known so far in any air crash within 30 days.

The aircraft went missing on March 8, as it travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Prime Minister Najib Razak told CNN late on Thursday: "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."

Najib said his government was not yet prepared to declare MH370's passengers dead, while saying it was "hard to imagine otherwise", AFP news agency reported.

"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."

The Malaysian cabinet this week also approved plans to set up what Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described as a "highly credible" international team tasked with investigating what happened to MH370.

His ministry was still assembling the team, whose members would be made known next week, he told reporters on Wednesday. "As I've consistently said since the beginning, we have nothing to hide," he said.

The investigation will not cover any findings from a criminal investigation being conducted by Malaysian police.

Source: AFP