Court orders Malaysia Airlines to hand over documents on MH370 to passengers' next of kin

Malaysia Airlines ground staff walk past Malaysia Airlines aircraft parked on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on June 20, 2016.
Malaysia Airlines ground staff walk past Malaysia Airlines aircraft parked on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on June 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has been ordered by the High Court to provide documents on missing flight MH370 to 76 next-of-kin of passengers who were on board.

Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmin Adnan made the decision in chambers yesterday, according to MAS lead counsel Saranjit Singh, who spoke to reporters later.

"We have to disclose documents that are relevant to the plaintiffs. I need to seek instructions from my client on whether to appeal this ruling," he said.

Federal counsel Shaiful Nizam Shahrin, acting for the Government, director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), confirmed the court order.

The plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Yap said all relevant documents had to be supplied to them and that the court expects the order to be complied with by Oct 20.

The government, DCA and RMAF had objected to the bid, describing it as "a fishing expedition".

Mr Saranjit had also objected on grounds that the request was premature and not necessary.

The plaintiffs have stated in their suit that the DCA director-general on Jan 29 last year declared MH370's loss an accident and that all 239 on board were presumed dead.

Their lead counsel Tommy Thomas had argued that the documents, among others, were critical evidence relating to the background and sequence of events for the incident and subsequent search operations.

They had asked for 37 items, including the notes, memoranda and investigative reports by all who participated in the probe.