KAMPAR: Malaysia will welcome any invitation from the Dutch authorities to send the next of kin of MH17 victims to witness the reconstruction of the downed aircraft, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.
“The Malaysian Government has not received any information from the Dutch authorities on this matter.
“As it is, our DCA officers and Malaysia Airlines engineers are already there to help in the reconstruction of the aircraft,” he told reporters after launching the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman Public Relations Campaign 2014/2015: Volunteerism IV – here yesterday.
Investigators are expected to begin soon a three-dimensional reconstruction of parts of the aircraft at the Dutch air force base where the wreckage is stored.
The Boeing 777 was downed in July last year while flying over Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 people aboard.
Liow said the reconstruction exercise would help determine the cause of the incident.
“It will tell us whether Flight MH17 was hit by ground-to-air or air-to-air missile, and diffuse speculation,” he said.
In Kuala Lumpur, some families of the victims said they would take up the Dutch Safety Board’s (DSB) invitation to see the wreckage next month, hoping the trip would bring them closer to answers.
Hanapi Mohd Nor, father of MH17 co-pilot Ahmad Hakimi Hanapi, said he wanted to look at the shell of the plane to get a better picture of what might have happened to his son while he was flying over Donetsk, Ukraine.
He said conflicting reports of whether the plane was shot down from a ground-to-air missile or that it was downed by a Ukrainian fighter jet had left him puzzling over what truly happened.
“If they invite me to go, Insya-Allah, I want to be there. I want to see the remnants myself. I’m not an engineer, but maybe if I look at it myself, I can be closer to the truth,” said Hanapi, 68.
Don Shahidan Kassim, 48, the brother of MH17 chief stewardess Dora Shahila Kassim, applauded the initiative in engaging the next of kin.
“It will be good for us to see the plane so we can know what actually happened,” he said.
For Jijar Singh, the father of MH17 steward Sanjid Singh Sandhu, he said the visit would be more out of formality rather than closure.
He said the family would probably query investigators on how they could begin the litigation process of those he believed were responsible for his son’s death.
DSB chairman Tjibbe Joustra said in a statement that the next of kin would be invited to visit the wreckage at the Royal Netherlands Air Force base in Gilze-Rijen in the first week of March.
This comes after Dutch investigators had collected pieces of the wreckage and selected a part of it for a reconstruction of a part of the plane.