MAS told to provide MH370 documents

Relatives of passengers on the missing MH370 plane demonstrating after a joint press conference of the Ministerial Tripartite Meeting on the search for the plane on July 22. Family members of 32 passengers have filed legal claims against the carrier.
Relatives of passengers on the missing MH370 plane demonstrating after a joint press conference of the Ministerial Tripartite Meeting on the search for the plane on July 22. Family members of 32 passengers have filed legal claims against the carrier.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

High Court orders airline to submit papers to kin of missing plane's passengers by Oct 20

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has been ordered by the High Court to provide documents on missing flight MH370 to 76 relatives of passengers who were on board the ill-fated passenger plane.

Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmin Adnan made the decision in chambers on Thursday, 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 against this ruling," he said.

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

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Mr Michael Yap, said all relevant documents had to be supplied to them and that the court expected 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 unnecessary.

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

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 on board were presumed dead.

Their lead counsel, Mr Tommy Thomas, had argued that the documents, among others, were critical evidence relating to the background and sequence of events involved in 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.

They had also applied for a copy of the pilots' licences, logbooks, airman's files and medical files of the pilots of MH370.

The plaintiffs - 66 Chinese nationals, eight Indians and two Americans - are family members of 32 passengers of MH370.

In the statement of claim dated March 3, they have claimed negligence, breach of contract, breach of statutory duty and breach of the Montreal Convention by MAS.

They are also seeking claims over conspiracy, fraud, breach of statutory duties and malfeasance of public office by the government agencies.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'MAS told to provide MH370 documents'. Print Edition | Subscribe