Malaysia wants MH17 investigations to identify perpetrators

This file photo taken on April 23, 2015 shows Dutch and Malaysian investigators and local authorities working on the site where the bulk of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot out of the sky near the village of Grabove in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR). The families of the 298 people who died when flight MH17 was downed over Ukraine are steeling themselves for a slew of bitter legal battles, on the eve of the tragedy's second anniversary.
PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - On the second anniversary Flight MH17's downing, Malaysia is appealing for the speeding up of the criminal investigation report on the incident.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysia was committed to bringing the criminals to justice, so identifying the perpetrators was the primary objective.

"Upon the completion of the technical report last October, I was told the criminal report could be ready by early this year but until today, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has not concluded it," he said after opening the 37th annual general meeting of Koperasi Serbaguna Malaysia (KSM) in Wisma MCA yesterday.

Liow said Malaysia had done its best and utilised all channels to gather information and details of the tragedy.

The Boeing 777-200ER airliner was shot down en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, over a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

"With JIT's criminal investigations ongoing, we hope to receive the preliminary conclusion on the forensic research, including the type of weapon used and other pertinent details, later this year.

"We hope the international community will continue to lend us its support in ensuring the perpetrators are held accountable," he said.

Liow said Malaysia, together with fellow members of JIT - Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine - remained wholly committed and determined in the pursuit for justice.

He also called for safer skies around the world, appealing for international co-operation to be strengthened to improve security standards in civil aviation, including the implementation of real-time global tracking of commercial aircraft, as well as addressing the risks in conflict zones.

"As we mark the second anniversary of the MH17 tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the next-of-kin of the victims.

"Rest assured the Government will not give up in our quest to ensure justice prevails," he added.

So far, the next-of-kin of 279 victims have received their claims for compensation.

On another matter, Liow said the Government was taking measures to make airports safer for travellers, including mulling over a proposal to allow only passengers into the terminals.

He said there were some limitations to implementing such a move due to the "open concept" design of existing airports.

"However, we will study how it can be done and seek effective ways to ensure tighter security at all airports," he said, adding that security at Malaysia's main gateways had already been raised after the terrorist attack at Brussels Airport in Belgium.