KUALA LUMPUR: Simple, yet dignified – this is how Malaysia wants to receive the remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 victims when they arrive at the KL International Airport on Friday.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, who described a brief sequence of events for the special ceremony, said family members who went to Amsterdam would arrive at KL International Airport on Friday at 6am while the aircraft carrying the victims’ remains would arrive at 10am.
“The bodies will be transported to the hearses and it will take between 40 and 45 minutes for the process.
“It would take considerably longer if there are more than 16 bodies,” the Defence Minister said after a media briefing for top editors at the ministry’s complex Wisma Pertahanan here yesterday.
Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.
Hishammuddin said the ceremony would start once the bodies were placed in the hearses.
While the planning had taken some time, Hishammuddin, who is coordinator for the committee to oversee the last rites for the victims, said he was satisfied with the preparations for the ceremony.
“It is important for the whole nation to grieve with the families. We aim to present a simple but very dignified ceremony,” he said.
Once the ceremony is over, Hishammuddin said some of the bodies would be transported by road to the burial grounds while others would be flown via five Nuri helicopters and two C-130 aircraft.
“We will be able to inform the public on where to wait for the respective transports once we confirm the routes to be taken,” he said.
He revealed that the authorities in Amsterdam had identified 28 Malaysians involved in the MH17 crash in Ukraine on July 17.
The Defence Minister said that more than the expected 16 remains of the MH17 victims would arrive at KLIA on Friday, which has been set as the National Day of Mourning.
“We can finalise proceedings for the National Day of Mourning and set the time to have the moment of silence once we confirm the exact number of bodies to arrive on Friday.
“We expect to finalise the exact number tomorrow,” he said.
Hishammuddin revealed that the 28 Malaysians identified to date comprised 15 passengers and 13 crew members.
“The remains of 16 victims have already been prepared to be flown back while the remaining ones have to go through a few processes before they can be transported,” he said.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mu’adzam Shah will lead the nation in paying the last respects to the victims.
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