KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Eateries at Malaysia's new multimillion dollar airport have been urged to keep their garbage cans closed to help exterminators sweep the site of 600 rats, news reports said Sunday.

Reports of rats scurrying around the $2.3 billion Kuala Lumpur International Airport surfaced last week after a flight was delayed 15 hours while workers hunted a rat on the plane.

Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik said exterminators had already caught 291 of the rodents but estimated 600 were at-large, the Star newspaper reported.

An hour's drive from downtown Kuala Lumpur, the sleek new airport sprawls across 24,700 acres of former palm oil plantations, which Ling said were riddled with rat burrows.

Ling asked that airport food outlets cooperate by keeping a lid on garbage and cutting off food supply to the pests.