KUCHING, July 18 ― Jamilah Noriah Abang Aji Anuar, 72, was too overcome with grief and disbelief to talk about her daughter Ariza Ghazalee, 46, son-in-law Tambi Jiee, 49, and their four children who were passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that crashed in Ukraine.
In a voice choked with emotion, she related that her daugher, son-in-law and grandchildren were on their way back to the country after spending three years abroad.
She said Ariza followed her husband, who was working for a company owned by Shell in Kazakhstan and was recently given permission to be transferred to Kuala Lumpur.
"Prior to this (incident) my daughter was so cheerful as she was looking forward to celebrate Hari Raya back in Malaysia and has even started to order matching Raya clothes to wear for the occasion," she said when met at her home in Samariang here.
She said confirmation that her daughter's family were among the passengers aboard MH17 was only obtained early this morning when footages of the crash were already widely broadcast on the various television channels.
Ariza, the second among five siblings, had taken leave without pay for three years from her job as an engineer in Bintulu to accompany her husband in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile Ariza's elder sister, Madzalina Ghazalee, 47, said her family began to feel anxious that she and her family were likely to be on board the plane that was reported to have crashed at mid-night but could not get anyone to verify it.
Worried family members only received the confirmation from MAS early this morning, she said.
She said Ariza together with her husband and their children Muhammad Afif, 19, Muhammad Afzal, 19, Marsha Azmeena, 15 and Muhammad Afruz, 13, were scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur early this morning, leaving for Kuching at noon and touching down here by 2 pm today.
The MAS flight, MH17, was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it went down in Ukraine. It was carrying 298 people - 283 passengers and 15 crew.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said early today that Ukrainian authorities believe that the Boeing 777 was shot down. ― Bernama