KUALA LUMPUR–Malaysia must take a leading role in investigations into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, says SUARAM* adviser Kua Kia Soong. “The government should not put up with being sidelined in the (criminal) investigations. The airliner belonged to Malaysia, a big group of the victims were Malaysian,” said Kua.
Kua spoke to The Star Online after delivering a paper at Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s “World in Turmoil: Imperialism and Resistance in the 21st Century” conference here. He questioned the time taken to investigate the shooting-down of the Boeing 777.
He raised the issue of an alleged non-disclosure agreement drawn up by four countries – Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Ukraine regarding criminal investigations into the crash. Kua pointed out that Malaysia has yet to question this alleged agreement, adding that foreign observers have already raised issues about it.
“Something simple like the fact that these four countries can keep the findings of the MH17 crash to themselves is unacceptable,” said Kua.
He also asked why the black boxes recovered from MH17 were handed over to Britain. “The black boxes belong to Malaysia, why were they handed over to the United Kingdom? If Malaysia was chairing the investigation team, then that is fine,” said Kua. He added that Malaysia should rightfully be chairing the investigation team.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Malaysia has yet to be involved in the criminal investigation into the downing of Flight MH17, although Dutch-led workers have already started combing the crash site in Ukraine.
Malaysian Ambassador to Ukraine Chuah Teong Ban believed that Malaysia would not be allowed to inspect the debris unless it became part of the criminal investigation team.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said recently that Malaysia had expressed its stand very clearly that it must be part of the criminal investigation team and had informed Dutch authorities of its intention.
On July 17, Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine after being allegedly shot down. A total of 298 people on board, including 43 Malaysians, perished in the tragedy.
* SUARAM is a human and political rights advocacy agency in Malysia that was founded in 1989. Read more about SUARAM here.