Putrajaya admits Malaysia initially withheld cooperation in MH17 probe

File picture shows the presentation of the final report into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. — Reuters pic
File picture shows the presentation of the final report into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — A deputy minister admitted today that Malaysia did not immediately give full cooperation in the probe on the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 until it was made a full member in the international investigation team.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi confirmed this when responding to PKR lawmaker Chua Tian Chang who raised in Parliament an Australian News Corp report last month that claimed Putrajaya and Malaysia Airlines had tried to hinder the investigation.

“Initially, Malaysia was not appointed fully in the joint investigation team,” Abdul Aziz explained to Parliament.

“Therefore, we gave a response that we would not cooperate until we were fully appointed in the JIT. Finally, Malaysia was made a full member of the JIT and we gave full cooperation in the investigation,” he added, using the initials for the joint investigation team.

According to the deputy minister, the joint investigation team is led by the Dutch, with participation from Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had denied last month the claims in the Australian News Corp report that had cited the final investigation report on the Flight MH17 crash by the Dutch Safety Board.

The Australian news agency reported that both the federal government and Malaysia Airlines had “actively sought to hinder the investigation to avoid scrutiny”, though they later chose to cooperate “in a limited way”.

Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year, killing all 298 passengers onboard.

Western countries have blamed Russia-backed separatists in the restive area of Ukraine for the downing, but Russia has denied responsibility.

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