PUTRAJAYA - They died tragically and their families may never get a last glimpse of their bodily forms when some of them are finally laid to rest next week.
The next of kin of the MH17 victims have been advised against viewing the remains because many of the bodies were not found in perfect condition, said Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.
She, however, stressed that the right to view the remains for the last time rested with the living relatives, who may do so if they wished.
"Our counsellors have advised the next of kin to not view the remains but if they insist, they can do so at the burial or cremation ground where their private ceremonies may be held.
"This is because the bodies are not in an ordinary state and perhaps it is best for the families to remember the departed in their most perfect memory," Rohani said when met at the launch of the ministry's Merdeka celebrations here yesterday.
She said the remains to be sent home would be vacuum-packed before being laid in a sealed coffin.
Prior to this, religious rites according to the beliefs of each family will be performed on the victims, such as the bathing of the body for Muslim remains.
After the remains are given a ceremonial reception at the KL International Airport's Bunga Raya Complex on Friday, they will be brought to their final resting place according to the wishes of the next of kin.
"Some have asked for the remains to be cremated, buried or sent to their homes. It is entirely up to the families.
"We have assigned caregivers and one counsellor to each family. They will continue to provide their services even after the remains have been laid to rest," Rohani said.
The Government has announced a national day of mourning for the victims of Flight MH17 on Aug 22, when the remains of 15 Malaysians who were killed in the tragedy will be brought home from the Netherlands.
The remains of a Dutch victim will also be on the flight as the next of kin have requested for the deceased to be buried in Malaysia.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said a nationwide moment of silence would be observed before the hearses leave the tarmac and the coffins would be carried out of the special flight by ceremonial officers from the Malaysian Armed Forces.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is believed to have been shot down over eastern Ukraine airspace on July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew members on board.