KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — Malaysia’s participation as a full and equal member of the MH17 joint investigation team tasked with focusing on the criminal investigation into the downing of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft is expected to result in the identification of the perpetrators of the heinous act, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said the investigation was ongoing, with Malaysia jointly participating with the investigation teams from the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine in the criminal and technical investigation group.
“Our participation in the investigation is very important and I am confident it can help the team find vital evidence to bring those responsible to justice,” he told reporters after attending the Kojadi Institute graduation ceremony at Wisma MCA here today.
Last Monday, the Attorney-General’s Department said in a statement that Malaysia had been accepted as a full and equal member of the joint investigation team that focused on the criminal investigation into the downing of the MAS aircraft.
The acceptance of the country as a full and equal member in the investigation team was conveyed by the Netherlands National Public Prosecutor’s Office through a letter dated November 28 to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.
As part of the ongoing international criminal investigation process, Abdul Gani and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar left for The Hague last Wednesday to attend the third Eurojust Coordination Meeting on the criminal investigation that was scheduled to be held last Thursday.
Flight MH17 is believed to have been shot down in Ukraine while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur last July 17, and all 298 passengers, including 44 Malaysians, perished in the incident.
Commenting on the intention of family members of the passengers to take legal action against Malaysia, Liow said the government was prepared for any possibility.
However, up to now, he said, his ministry had yet to receive any information on the move to sue the government.
“I just returned from Chongqing, China, and have yet to receive any detailed information relating to these cases (filing of suits) but Malaysia is always prepared to face any of the charges in court.
“We know and understand that this is the right of the passengers and family members and we need to be ready to face any possibility,” said Liow.
He was asked to comment on a news portal report in the Daily Mail of the United Kingdom last Wednesday which quoted news.com.au as saying that family members of eight of the MH17 victims from Australia would sue Russia, Ukraine and Malaysia.
Aviation lawyer Jerry Skinner, who will represent the eight Australian families from New South Wales, Canberra, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, was quoted as saying that he was awaiting further information before filing the case in the European Court of Human Rights.
Skinner is known for his negotiation in a US$2.7 billion (RM8.6 billion) settlement for the 270 victims with Libya over the 1988 Lockerbie disaster. — Bernama