Court sets March 30 for application to strike out MH370 suit by teen brothers

  • Nation
  • Friday, 04 Mar 2016

KUALA LUMPUR:  A High Court has set March 30 to decide over two applications by the Government, Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) and two others to strike out a breach of contract and negligence suit in relation to the disappearance of Flight MH370.

The civil suit was initiated by two teenage brothers who are among five plaintiffs suing Malaysia Airlines System Bhd, MAB, the Civil Aviation Department director-general, air force chief and the Government.

On Friday, High Court Judicial Commissioner Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab fixed the date to deliver his decision after hearing submissions by the parties.

Speaking to reporters here later, the plaintiffs' lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said she had asked the judicial commissioner to reject their applications on grounds that the defendants have a duty of care on the passengers on board the flight that day.

"I say they have to be accountable and answer the case in a full trial," she added.

Sangeet said the court has also allowed her clients' application to substitute a plaintiff who had passed away with his son.

In their striking out application, the Government and MAB said the suit did not disclose reasonable cause of action and that it was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

Besides that, the air force chief and the Civil Aviation Department director-general supports the government's bid saying said they do not have a duty of care against the plaintiffs under the law and there was indeterminate liability on their part.

In its grounds to support the striking out bid, MAB said further that it was only incorporated on Nov 7, 2014 - eight months after the incident involving the Flight MH370.

MAB said that it is not a "replacement company" of MAS and that the Malaysia Airline System Bhd (Administration) Act 2015 did not transfer liability of MAS to MAB.

In the suit, the plaintiffs are seeking a public apology, besides damages to be assessed for the loss of support as a result of the death of two passengers who were directors of an engineering and construction company earning an annual income of RM5.9mil and RM2.5mil respectively.

The brothers – Tan Wei Hong, 15, and Tan Wei Jie, 13 – are the sons of Tan Ah Meng, 46, and Chuang Hsiu Ling, 45, who were on board MH370 which departed from KLIA for Beijing on March 8, 2014. The couple’s eldest son, Tan Wei Chew, 19, was also on board the flight.

Besides Wei Hong and Wei Jie, the other plaintiffs are Ah Meng’s parents – Tan Hun Khong (deceased) and Lai Chew Lai – and Chuang Hung Chien, the mother of Hsiu Ling.

They said Malaysia Airlines, which was named as first defendant, had entered into a contract with the passengers when they purchased the air tickets but that the airline company had breached its obligations to them.

They said Malaysia Airlines had also breach­ed its duty of care in providing the flight service.

Among others, the children said they lost their parents and an older sibling, causing them to become orphans overnight, and suffered loss of financial support, parental love, family stability and parental guidance and irreparable psychological damage.

In the statement of claim, they said the Civil Aviation director-general was responsible for the provision of air traffic services for the safe and efficient conduct of flights within Malay­sian airspace.

They said the air force chief had a duty to investigate and verify any unusual, unidentified, unmarked and unaccounted for aircraft appearing on its radars.

The plaintiffs said the Government had failed in its duty to manage the disappearance of the aircraft with due care, respect and accountability, causing further pain.

In the suit filed on Aug 28, last year, they are claiming for general damages, aggravated and exemplary damages, bereavement and further relief deemed fit by the court.

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