The Hague – Malaysia is determined to bring back the remains of Malaysians from the MH17 crash site in Ukraine as soon as possible, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today while on a lightning visit to the Netherlands.
“For the sake of the grieving families, it is imperative that all remains at the crash site are repatriated as soon as possible. Every single victim must be given dignity and a decent funeral,” he said in a statement issued in Kuala Lumpur today.
Najib met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and said Malaysia stood in solidarity with the Netherlands and the countries whose people have been lost.
“We stand together, united in grief, and ready to help however we can.”
He also called for a ceasefire between Ukraine and separatists forces so that investigators will gain full access to the MH17 crash site.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down on July 17 while flying over Ukraine. All 298 people on board died in the incident, two-thirds of them Dutch. To date, no one has yet to claim responsibility over the incident.
Najib said priority is keeping the integrity of the site so that investigations may proceed as “the long walk towards justice begins with this step”.
“Our other priority is to ensure the international investigators are given full and unfettered access to the site, so that they may collect evidence and carry out their vital work.
“Only then will we be able to find out what happened to MH17; only then can we achieve justice for the victims and their families.”
He said a team of 68 Malaysian police has arrived Kiev today. They will work together with the Dutch and Australian teams to help secure access to the site.
He also thanked the Dutch for their role in leading the MH17 probe and said the Malaysian team is ready to help.
Najib has been credited for being the one to negotiate with Pro-Russia separatists over access to the MH17 crash site.
He said on July 21 that after speaking with separatist leader Alexander Borodai, an agreement was reached for the repatriation of the remains, a safe passage for investigators, and a return of the two black boxes.
The Sydney Morning Herald, however, reported that Najib used “secret diplomacy” to reach such an agreement.
Deputy Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin rubbished the report, saying no separate deal was made and it was the outcome of a diplomatic coup.
Putrajaya also scored another coup on July 27 when it successfully negotiated with Borodai and the rebels to allow a multinational police force to enter the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Donetsk.
The deal allows for the “coalition of the grieving”, as the joint police force from the Netherlands, Australia and Malaysia are being called, to provide protection for investigators probing the tragedy.