SEMENYIH, Malaysia - Despite the wedding of his daughter, it has been a difficult week for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who lost three close aides.
Visiting the site of the helicopter crash in Semenyih last night with his family, the Prime Minister appeared visibly shaken and distraught.
The air disaster yesterday claimed the lives of Rompin MP and former minister Tan Sri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis and a private secretary in the Prime Minister's Office Datuk Seri Azlin Alias.
Describing their deaths as personal tragedies, Najib said Jamaluddin was a close friend while Azlin was his chief of staff.
"The loss is a big tragedy for my family and me. I'm very sad with what has happened," he told newsmen near the scene of the crash.
Najib said he had known Jamaluddin since their university days and they were close political allies.
Jamaluddin, he said, had served as his special adviser.
"I regard him as a very capable person who has contributed a lot to the Government, party and country," he said.
Najib noted that Jamaluddin had played a major role in strengthening bilateral ties when he served as the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States.
He also pointed out that Azlin had left his corporate career to serve the Government as "national service".
"He was my chief of staff at the Prime Minister's Office. I was very close to him," he said.
He recalled Azlin as a dedicated and trustworthy staff member whom everyone was at ease working with.
Najib said he hoped and prayed that their families would stay strong in this time of grief.
He has ordered for a comprehensive investigation into the cause of the crash.
"It's too early for us to draw conclusions but a thorough investigation must be carried out as fast as possible," he said.
The disaster, which killed four others on board, took place after the group flew to Pahang for the wedding reception of Najib's daughter Nooryana Najwa and Daniyar Kessikbayev.
Last Monday, Najib's private secretary Datuk Mohd Po'ad Jelani, 50, who had been working with him since 1999 when he was the Education Minister, died of lymphoma cancer.
Najib had called Mohd Po'ad "a person with a great personality" and said he had discharged all his duties with a high level of dedication.
Today, Najib is expected to pay his last respects at the funerals of Jamaluddin and Azlin.Also at the scene with Najib were his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as well as the newlyweds, who were still in their wedding attire, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa and Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.