PUTRAJAYA: The national day of mourning for the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is Aug 22.
This is when the remains of 15 Malaysians who were killed in the tragedy will be brought home from the Netherlands.
In addition, the remains of a Dutch victim would also be on the flight as the next of kin had requested that the deceased be buried in Malaysia.
But the day would not be declared a public holiday, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
However, there will be a moment of silence when the coffins arrive.
Muhyiddin said the 16 coffins would be transported via a special flight from Amsterdam, and are expected to arrive at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 10am for the receiving ceremony at the KLIA’s Bunga Raya Complex.
The next of kin would be accompanying the remains of their loved ones.
Muhyiddin said the names of the victims would be revealed on that day. He added that six of them were Muslims.
Explaining the ceremony, Muhyiddin said after the aircraft landed, the coffins would be carried out by ceremonial officers from the Malaysian Armed Forces and be placed separately in 16 hearses.
“We will observe the moment of silence before the hearses leave the tarmac.
“We hope the entire country will observe this moment of silence as the event will be carried live on television stations,” he said.
The Yang diPertuan Agong is scheduled to be at the ceremony, together with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Cabinet ministers, Mentris Besar, Chief Ministers and families of the victims.
At the end of the ceremony, the remains would immediately be sent to their respective hometowns, accompanied by their next of kin.
“We have prepared an RMAF Charlie aircraft to fly the remains to Kuching while Nuri helicopters would be used to fly the remains of other victims to the other states in the peninsula.
“The states will organise ceremonies to receive the remains but it would be on a smaller scale,” he said.
Muhyiddin said families of two victims had requested that the remains of their loved ones be cremated in the Netherlands and the ashes flown to Malaysia.
“We are making arrangements to fly them to Amsterdam to give them ample time for the cremation process so that the urns could be flown back,” he said.
Muhyiddin said so far, the remains of 24 Malaysian victims, including the 10 crew members of the ill-fated flight, had been identified by the authorities in Amsterdam.
“It’s not that we don’t want to bring them all back together as the authorities there will decide when the remains can be released.
“We are waiting for the signal from the Netherlands and it is being monitored by the Transport Ministry and MAS,” he said.
Muhyiddin said the Government hoped there would be a flight carrying the remains a few days after Aug 22, so that the next of kin would not have to wait any longer.
“There will be ceremony to honour the other Malaysian victims as well,” he said.