SEPANG: As the nation unites in grief today, a solemn and dignified reception awaits the remains of 20 Malaysians a month after the tragic incident which killed all 298 passengers on board Flight MH17.
The first batch of the remains, scheduled to touch down at the KL International Airport’s Bunga Raya Complex here at 9.55am, will be accorded a full military ceremony in the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, Cabinet ministers, ambassadors, and the families that the victims left behind.
Rain or shine, the ceremony to mark the national day of mourning will be carried out in a graceful and solemn manner, said a representative from the Malaysian Armed Forces.
“All coffins and urns which are returning will be draped in the Jalur Gemilang,” the official told media personnel in a briefing yesterday.
The final rehearsal of the ceremony was carried out smoothly yesterday, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Cabinet ministers.
The special flight from Amsterdam was scheduled to take off from the Netherlands at 3.15pm (9.15pm Malaysian time) yesterday.
After touchdown, the plane’s engines would be prepared for a complete shut off.
This would then signal the entrance of the hearses to the tarmac and eight pallbearers would be assigned to carry each of the coffins out of the plane.
There would be no movement of vehicles until the last of the remains is brought into the designated hearse, which would be followed by a minute’s silence to be observed nationwide.
The hearses will then began their journey out of the complex and to the respective final resting places for the deceased.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said three of the 20 remains – that of passenger Ng Lye Ti and crew members Lee Hui Pin and Angeline Premila Rajandran – had been cremated in the Netherlands and would be brought home in urns.
“The remains of 13 victims would be brought to their final place of rest in hearses while those of seven would be flown to their respective states on C130 aircraft or EC725 helicopters,” Hishammuddin said at a press conference after the rehearsal.