KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has yet to be involved in the criminal investigation into the downing of Flight MH17, although Dutch-led workers have already started combing the crash site in Ukraine.
Malaysian Ambassador to the Netherlands Datuk Dr Fauziah Mohd Taib said Malaysia had not been invited to officially join the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which is undertaking the criminal probe.
Malaysia is currently only part of the MH17 technical investigation team.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had during his visit to Malaysia on Nov 5 said that it was only logical for Malaysia to be given a more prominent role in the probe.
This was due to the high number of Malaysians who died and because MH17 was a Malaysianregistered
Fauziah said the issue was one that the Dutch would also need to discuss with the governments of
Ukraine and Australia.
“The Dutch PM alone cannot decide. He also has to ask Australia and Ukraine,” said Fauziah.
She said Malaysia was also not invited to join the debris recovery work being carried out at the site,
possibly because it is still not safe to be there.
Malaysian Ambassador to Ukraine Chuah Teong Ban believed that Malaysia would not be allowed to inspect the debris unless it became part of the criminal investigation team.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said recently that Malaysia had expressed its stand very clearly that it must be part of the criminal investigation team and had informed Dutch authorities of its intention.
Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is monitoring the debris recovery exercise, said work that started on Sunday had been productive so far.
“The recovery team focused on the main burn site where the midsection of the aircraft came down,” he said when contacted, adding that the debris included the wings, fuel tanks and landing gear.
He said the team loaded the debris onto flatbed trucks to be transported to a nearby train station
Some human remains and personal belongings were also found.
The mayor of the town of Grabove handed over to the team two passports and some bank ATM and credit
cards belonging to the crash victims.
Bociurkiw said the debris recovery work could take some time due to snow forecast in the area and
because of the ongoing conflict.
“In fact, yesterday, there were mortars that landed just 1.5km away,” he added.