Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the team remained on hold as the situation in eastern Ukraine was still unsafe despite a ceasefire declared last Friday and largely holding in the region.
The minister said international experts had some 45 days left for work at the site as the cold season was approaching to cover the evidence by snow.
The previous search operation in the area continued less than a week, as on August 6 international experts finished their work for safety considerations. Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said specialists had managed to comb less than half of the area, failing to bring any debris from the crash site.
A Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 298 people crashed in east Ukraine on July 17 on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Both sides in Ukraine’s conflict accused each other of shooting down the plane with a missile.
Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the eastern Ukrainian breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums, was launched in mid-April and has involved armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation.
The ceasefire was achieved at a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine in the Belarussian capital Minsk last Friday.