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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — The remains of all 43 Malaysians on board flight MH17, which was downed over Ukrainian airspace in July, have been identified, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today.
The Defence Minister said the last victim identified was his step grandmother, Puan Sri Siti Amirah, whose remains have already been returned to the family.
“I’m left with mixed feelings. This brings some closure for me, but we must make sure that those responsible are brought to justice,” he told a news conference after officially closing the Selangor Umno Convention 2014 here.
It was earlier reported by The Star that Siti Amirah — who is also the step grandmother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak — was travelling alone to Jogjakarta, Indonesia and was scheduled to transit at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
The 83-year-old was the second wife of the late Tan Sri Mohammad Noah Omar, Najib’s grandfather.
Hishamuddin today said that the positive identification of his step grandmother brings a close to one chapter of the ongoing crisis surrounding flight MH17.
“This means all the victims have been identified and returned to their families as promised... this was fated, and it is now time for us to look forward,” he said.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 was shot down from 33,000 feet over Ukrainian airspace on July 17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew who were en-route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.
The plane was initially believed to have been hit by a surface-to-air missile, but Dutch investigators have since reportedly said that it was possibly shot down by a fighter jet.
Neither Kiev nor pro-Russian separatists in the restive eastern Ukrainian region have claimed responsibility for the deadly crash, the second major incident to befall Malaysia’s ailing national carrier this year.
The first was the disappearance of flight MH370 on March 8, which fell off the radar not long after taking off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on its way to Beijing.
The plane is still missing, despite an ongoing multinational search effort over the past eight months, now centred on a largely unchartered region of the south Indian Ocean where it is believed to have ended its flight.