KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS) has been ordered by a High Court to provide relevant documents over the disappearance of Flight MH370 to 76 next-of-kin of passengers who initiated the biggest civil proceedings here.
On Thursday, High Court Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmin Adnan allowed general discovery for documents which were sought by the plaintiffs.
Speaking to reporters after the decision was delivered in chambers, MAS lead counsel Saranjit Singh said JC Azizul had allowed general discovery for documents in relation to the disappearance of Flight MH370.
"We have to disclose what are the documents relevant to the plaintiffs," he said.
Saranjit said JC Azizul held that the plaintiffs were entitled to get general discovery of documents against MAS to assist the case against the Malaysian Government and others.
"I need to seek instructions from my client whether to appeal against the ruling," he added.
Federal Counsel Shaiful Nizam Shahrin, who acted for the Malaysian Government, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), confirmed the court order.
The plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Yap said all relevant documents had to be supplied to them and that the court set Oct 20 to check on the compliance of the court order over the matter.
Saranjit said the court had also set Nov 3 for case management for 27 other similar suits involving Flight MH370.
The Government and two others have objected the bid by 76 next-of-kin of the passengers of MH370 to get various documents over its disappearance by describing it as a "fishing expedition".
Saranjit had also objected over the discovery of documents on grounds that it was premature and not necessary.
In their suit, the plaintiffs said the Department of Civil Aviation director-general had on Jan 29 last year declared MH370 to be an accident and that all 239 passengers and crew on board the flight were presumed to have lost their lives.
The plaintiffs' lead counsel Tommy Thomas had argued that those documents among others related to the background and sequence of events of the incident and its search operations, which were relevant and critical evidence for the trial.
The plantiffs sought for 37 items, including all notes, memoranda, investigative reports by any and all investigators who participated in the investigations on behalf of defendants in connection with the flight.
In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs comprised 66 Chinese nationals, eight Indians and two Americans. The foreigners were family members of 32 passengers who are seeking for damages over their losses. This is the largest lawsuit in Malaysia in terms of number of passengers involved.
They have named MAS, Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), Department of Civil Aviation director-general, RMAF and the Government as defendants.
In the statement of claim dated March 3, they are claiming among others for negligence, breach of contract, breach of statutory duty and breach of Montreal Convention against MAS.
The families have said that MAS gave no proper account of events that had happened during the flight, which, the next of kin was later informed in text messages, had gone down in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Fight MH370 went missing while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Beijing, China, on March 8, 2014.