MH17 lawsuit expected

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is ready to answer any charges if a suit is brought against it by several Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 Australian victims' next of kin.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he had not received any detailed information relating to a possible suit by at least five Australian families whose next of kin had died in the MH17 tragedy as he had just returned from Chongqing, China.

"Malaysia is ready to face any charges in court, including the MH370 case," he said in a press conference after the Kojadi Institute's 19th graduation ceremony yesterday.

On Thursday, ABC Online reported that an international aviation lawyer was preparing a lawsuit against Russia, Ukraine and Malaysia on behalf of at least five families of the Australian victims in the MH17 plane tragedy.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed with the European Court of Human Rights.

The plane was shot down over Ukraine on July 17 and investigations were underway to identify those responsible.

Liow said that the Government was pleased with being included in the criminal investigation of MH17.

"This is important because we want to bring those responsible to the court of law," he said.

On Tuesday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was reported as saying that Malaysia had finally been accepted as a full member of the MH17 criminal investigation team.

In a statement to mark International Civil Aviation Day today, Liow urged all countries to be consistent in their quest to adopt mandatory procedures and protocols to raise aviation standards.

He said Malaysia will continue to push for next-generation safety and security standards for international civil aviation.

He noted how Malaysia on its part had already called upon the member states of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to adopt a number of recommendations including real-time global tracking, which is being put in place after the United Nations approved a global standard in commercial airline tracking.

Liow said he had also emphasised in his address before the 203rd Session of the ICAO Council the need for longer lasting batteries in black boxes, as well as mandatory sharing of information between ICAO, its member states and the airline industry.

Malaysians, said Liow, had much to be proud of when it came to the development of the aviation sector in the country.

He said the opening of KLIA2 has allowed the country to take advantage of robust growth in budget air travel which has grown by 5.6 per cent over the past 10 years.

"We are in the midst of making tangible strides in the rebuilding of Malaysia Airlines," he added.