MH17 crash: Failure to secure crash site a betrayal of lives lost, says Liow

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia believes that vital evidence at the Ukrainian site where Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 went down has been tampered with, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tion Lai.

"The integrity of the site has been compromised, and there are indications that vital evidence has not been preserved in place. Interfering with the scene of the crash risks undermining the investigation itself," he said.

"Failure to stop such interference would be a betrayal of the lives that were lost," Liow said at a press conference, Saturday.

He said that Malaysia is deeply concerned that the crash site has not been properly secured and has called for all parties to protect its integrity to allow investigations to proceed.

"Earlier today, Malaysia's special team arrived in Kiev. We ask for continued support from the Ukrainian government, and the other parties involved, as the team seeks to assist the Ukrainian authorities in recovering and identifying the remains of the passengers and crew, and with the wider investigation," he said.

Liow also announced that he would be travelling to Kiev to assist with investigations.

"The world has a moral obligation to ensure that the remains of all victims are recovered and treated with respect. We will play our part in fulfilling this obligation," said Liow.

"Malaysia mourns the loss of all 298 passengers and crew. We feel for their families. And we promise to do all we can to ensure that the investigation is completed, and that justice is done," he said.

MH17 disappeared from radar screens in eastern Ukraine at around 1415 GMT on Thursday, hours after taking off from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport bound for Kuala Lumpur.

The Boeing 777 is believed to have been shot down 50km from the Ukraine-Russia border.

All 298 passengers and crew on board are believed to have perished.