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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Malaysian PM Najib visits victims' families

Published on Jul 19, 2014 11:53 PM
 
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai meeting with the Relatives of passenger Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 at JW Marriot hotel in Putrajaya on July 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: THE STAR PUBLICATION

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, accompanied by his ministers and wife, visited grieving families and next-of-kin of the passengers of Flight MH17 at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel on Saturday.

Datuk Seri Najib spent nearly two hours speaking behind closed doors to the families, while his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, was spotted hugging and consoling some of them.

Others in the entourage included Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Hamzah Zainuddin and Umno Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

While some of the next-of-kin were put up at the hotel, others streamed in throughout the afternoon, and were ushered to a conference room in an annex of the hotel. The family members streamed out at different times and declined to speak to media waiting outside the room.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin told reporters that the families' main concern was when Malaysian authorities can gain access to the crash site. He said his government has a "clear template and direction" going forward. Its three objectives are: gaining immediate access the site, ensuring the safety of the Malaysian team there, and making sure the site and debris are not tampered with.

"(Access to the site) depends on international cooperation; if the international cooperation is as good as what I got for MH370 then I am quite hopeful," he said. "We'll do all in our power to bring the remains of their loved ones back."

Mr Hishammuddin and Mr Najib, who are cousins, also lost a relative who was on MH17 - their 83-year-old step-grandmother, Puan Sri Siti Amirah.

Datuk Seri Shahrizat said that while the mood in the room was sombre, there was no show of anger by the families.

"There was no mood of anger, but more asking for help, and Datuk Seri Najib has extended both hands," she said.

While some of the families had indicated to their Prime Minister that they wish to be flown to the crash site, there are currently no plans to do so, said Datuk Hamzah.

"Some of them made the request... but the safety of the family going there must be assured," he said. "(Datuk Seri Najib) cannot wait to send the family members there, but he wants to make sure that it is safe for them to go."

yanliang@sph.com.sg

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