Move to strike out suit on disappearance of MH370

KUALA LUMPUR - The Government and Malaysia Airlines Bhd are applying to strike out a breach of contract and negligence suit over the disappearance of Flight MH370.

They said the suit, which came from five plaintiffs including two teenage brothers, was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Others named by the plaintiffs were Malaysia Airlines System Bhd, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general and the air force chief.

The air force chief and DCA director-general contended that they did not have a duty of care against the plaintiffs under the law and there was indeterminate liability on their part.

Malaysia Airlines said it was only incorporated on Nov 7 last year - eight months after the tragedy.

The other defendant is Malaysia Airlines System Bhd.

The Malaysia Airline System Bhd (Administration) Act did not transfer liability of then MAS to the current one.

Yesterday, High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab set Jan 28 for case management of the suit after meeting the parties in chambers.

This was confirmed by the plaintiffs' lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, who also said that one of the plaintiffs, Tan Hun Khong, had died.

Thus, court papers have been filed to substitute him.

She also said the plaintiffs were seeking for all voice recordings and transcripts relating to communication between Flight MH370 and the airline in the period it took off from KLIA on March 8 last year until the point it was uncontactable.

They are seeking documents related to standard operating procedures on handling and inspection of cargo of commercial flights, maintenance of the flight before the boarding and all insurance policies related to MH370.

The plaintiffs also wanted the duty roster of DCA staff in charge of observing the air traffic control radar on that fateful day.

Such information, they said, were relevant to assist the court for a fair evaluation on the liabilities by the defendants.

The brothers - Tan Wei Hong, 15, and Tan Wei Jie, 13 - are the sons of Tan Ah Meng, 46, and Chuang Hsiu Ling, 45, who were on board MH370.

In the suit filed on Aug 28, they are seeking a public apology, besides damages to be assessed for the loss of support as a result of their deaths.

Both Ah Meng and Chuang were directors of an engineering and construction company earning an annual income of RM5.9mil (S$1.9 million) and RM2.5mil respectively.

The couple's eldest son, Tan Wei Chew, 19, was also a passenger.

The other plaintiffs are Ah Meng's parents Tan Hun Khong (deceased) and Lai Chew Lai; and Chuang Hung Chien, the mother of Hsiu Ling.

Among others, they charged that Malaysia Airlines had entered into a contract with the passengers when they purchased their air tickets but that the company had breached its obligations to them.

The brothers said they lost their parents and an older sibling, causing them to suffer loss of financial support, parental love, family stability and parental guidance.

They said the DCA director-general was responsible for the provision of air traffic services for the safe and efficient conduct of flights within Malaysian airspace.

As for the airforce chief, they said he had a duty to investigate and verify any unusual, unidentified, unmarked and unaccounted for aircraft appearing on its radars.

They said the Government had failed to manage the disappearance of the aircraft with due care and accountability.