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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Nation’s moment of respect for passengers and crew of downed plane

PETALING JAYA: The country came to a standstill as Malaysians observed a minute’s silence in respect of the Malaysian passengers and crew of MH17.

Traffic came to a stop at the Penang Bridge, Dataran Merdeka and other locations at 10.55am as Malaysians displayed their grief over the downing of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft on July 17.

Mourners from all walks of life stood together in silence for 60 seconds at public spaces, schools, banks and in courts nationwide, as they offered their prayers for the remains of the 11 Malaysian passengers and nine crew members of MH17 that arrived yesterday.

Tears flowed freely among the crowd gathered at Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur.

“Perhaps it’s all fated. But with this tragedy right after the MH370 disappearance, it’s just too much to take,” said retired Telekom Malaysia staff Yurni Salleh.

In Sepang, check-in counters at KLIA2 came to a standstill twice as a minute of silence was observed at 10.30am and again at 10.55am.

Roslan Abdullah, 70, drove to KLIA with his daughter from their home in Petaling Jaya.

“The last time I witnessed such an outpouring of grief was when Tun Abdul Razak Hussein passed away in 1976. His remains were flown from London, where he died, to Kuwait where I was stationed at our embassy,” said an emotional Roslan.

In Johor Baru, members of the public, Immigration staff and policemen at the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex observed a minute’s silence.

“I want to lend some emotional support, my small contribution to show that I care,” said property agent Tan Khai Sheng, 31.

In Kota Kinabalu, the trial of 30 men over the Lahad Datu intrusion stopped for a minute.Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed choked back tears and requested for a moment of silence at 10.35am. “Your Honour, nobody wanted this (tragedy) to happen. I call on all of us to unite in observing a minute of silence for the victims of MH17,” he said.

Bernama reported that many shopping outlets toned down their in-house music. A number of major highways, including the Lekas Highway, Besraya Highway and New Pantai Expressway, closed their lanes for a minute. Malaysian missions abroad also flew the Jalur Gemilang at half-mast together with foreign missions here, such as the Japanese, Philippine and United States embassies.

In Penang, hundreds gathered to mark the sombre occasion. Loh Ean Tin, sister to MH17 passenger Loh Yan Hwa, who was there said: “Our family felt grateful for all the wishes and encouragement given to us.”

The PKR Youth wing annual congress held in Shah Alam, Selangor, also marked the occasion with a video presentation of MH17.

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Tags / Keywords: MH17 crash , MAS , Ukraine


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