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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

The latest on national protests. Plus, what went wrong in Yemen rescue attempt?

The latest on national protests. Plus, what went wrong in Yemen rescue attempt?

April 24th, 2014
04:14 PM ET

CNN TV Exclusive: Malaysian PM not declaring passengers dead

(CNN) – More than six weeks after Flight 370 disappeared, Malaysia's prime minister says his government is still not prepared to declare it - and the 239 people on board - lost.

"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," Najib Razak told CNN's Richard Quest in an exclusive TV interview.

Still, he said, it is "hard to imagine otherwise."

Najib also announced that his government will release a preliminary report next week on the plane's disappearance. The report has already been submitted to the United Nations.

A month ago, Malaysia Airlines sent a text to relatives of the passengers saying "we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those onboard survived."

Najib himself announced at the time that, based on satellite data from Inmarsat, investigators had determined the plane's "last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

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