SEPANG, October 3 – Malaysia is to leave it to the Dutch and Australian authorities to determine when personnel can be sent to eastern Ukraine to retrieve any more remains of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 tragedy, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Friday.
He said the decision was left to the two countries as their nationals comprised a large number of the passengers on board the ill-fated Boeing 777-200 aircraft which was shot down over Ukraine on July 17.
A total of 193 Dutch nationals and 38 Australian nationals were on board Flight MH17. Malaysia had 44 nationals on the flight, and the remains of 42 of them have been brought home so far.The risk factor was also a major consideration in deciding when to enter the crash site, Hishammuddin told reporters at the Bunga Raya Complex of the KL International Airport (KLIA).
He was present there, along with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, to receive the remains of five more Malaysian victims of the tragedy brought home today.Hishammuddin did not discount the possibility that the remains of the remaining two Malaysian victims were among the remains undergoing identification in Amsterdam.
He also said that Malaysia would station a defence attache in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.”We have a list of names. We have to identify the most suitable candidate,” he said, adding that the emplacement of the attache there would enhance cooperation between Malaysia and Ukraine in the wake of the MH17 tragedy.
Liow said Malaysia would continue with its probe into the MH17 tragedy from the technical and criminal aspects.The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the Dutch team of investigators had held discussions to analyse the preliminary report of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB).
“We hope the report can help in obtaining sound evidence to bring the criminals to the international court,” he said.The DSB, in its report, had said that the fuselage of the ill-fated aircraft was pierced from the outside by large numbers of “high-energy objects”, indicating that the plane was shot down.
Liow also said that so far the remains of 262 of the 298 victims had been identified.He said he also hoped that the remains of the two remaining Malaysian victims would be among the 27 remains undergoing identification at the Military Medical Centre in Hilversum, Amsterdam.
Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.Besides Malaysians, nationals from the Netherlands, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand were among the 298 people on board.