PEKAN - There are lessons to learn from tragedies both as an individual and a nation, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Citing the downed Flight MH17, Najib said it had taught him to strengthen his faith in facing adversities.
"However, we must not leave everything in the hands of the Almighty without putting in any effort. We must put up a brave front, keep trying and find possible ways to resolve the impasse.
"Therefore, I took a risk and made an unprecedented move to initiate talks with the separatist group and it paid off," he said in his speech during his Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Taman Tasik Sultan Abu Bakar here yesterday, which saw the attendance of some 50,000 people.
Najib said the negotiations, although not in accordance with international norms and convention, succeeded in securing the release of the remains and the black boxes. He said at the time, his thoughts were on the suffering of the next of kin, who were longing for the remains to be brought home for proper burial rites.
"I am thankful it worked out well and the first batch of remains had arrived safely on Friday. Despite being a small nation, if we stick to our principles and truth, people will give us due respect," he said, adding that the separatist had insisted the remains and the black boxes would only be released to the Malaysian delegation.
Najib said the tragedy also demonstrated that any adversity could be properly addressed.
Najib, who is also the Pekan MP, took to task those who loved to criticise his style of administration.
"I choose not to make many statements but initiate action plans which can benefit the masses more," he said.
At the event, he commended the elected people's representatives and other community leaders for their services in enabling Pekan folks to achieve the third spot under the National Happiness Index Survey nationwide.
Earlier, during the programme, Kadi Pekan Ahmad Nizam Abdul Manan recited a prayer in memory of MH17 victims, followed by the presentation of aid by Najib to more than 100 recipients, who would be performing their pilgrimage.
Meanwhile, two more MH17 victims came home early today.
The remains of Malaysia Airlines crew member Mohd Ghafar Abu Bakar and passenger Ng Shi Ing arrived at the KL International Airport around 6.30am on commercial flight, MH19.
MH19 is the new flight code for MH17.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai announced yesterday that Mohd Ghafar and Ng - a lecturer of Universiti Malaysia Sabah - would be given the same honours as the 20 that returned home on Friday.
He said the victims would be accorded military honours in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Cabinet ministers, their next of kin and invited guests the Bunga Raya Complex at 8.30am.
Speaking to reporters after opening the Federal Territory MCA annual convention yesterday, Liow said arrangements were being made for the return of the third batch of victims, hopefully before National Day.
Liow also thanked his deputy Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, in ensuring the process of bringing back the remains of Malaysians in the MH17 tragedy ran smoothly.