Liow: Najib-Putin deal a good sign for MH17 probe

Liow-Tiong-LaiBANGI: The agreement between Prime Minister Najib Razak and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need for justice in the shooting down of flight MH17 is a good sign for investigation into the incident.

Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said as a victim, Malaysia needed the cooperation of Russia in the investigation to identify the parties responsible for the tragedy in Ukraine in July, 2014.

“Everyone knows that we were the victims, attacked and shot down by BUK guided missiles. We must find those responsible for bringing down the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft.

“It was over this matter that the prime minister met Putin. Getting the agreement and cooperation of Russia is a good start towards understanding what really happened to our aircraft,” he said when commenting on the developments into investigations into the MH17 incident following Najib’s meeting with Putin in Sochi, Russia, yesterday.

Liow was speaking to reporters after attending the launch of the “UKM Alumni’s Wall of Fame” at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here today.

In the meeting held in conjunction with the Asean-Russia Commemorative Summit, Najib and Putin agreed that Malaysia and Russia would hold further discussions to ensure that justice is done in the MH17 incident after the report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

The prime minister was also reported to have reiterated Malaysia’s stand that it wanted the MH17 investigated until the end to satisfy the families of the victims who wanted justice.

Liow said on behalf of the ministry, he wanted to thank the prime minister for his continuous assistance in searching for those responsible and getting justice for the victims’ families.

“As a follow-up, we will hold talks with Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia and Ukraine to form an arbitration body for the MH17 case,” he said, adding that the ministry would get Najib’s views on the matter first before it is finalised.

On July 17, 2015, the Dutch Safety Board concluded its investigations with the finding that the Boeing 777 jet was hit by a Russian guided missile (BUK).

They said it was launched from territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels but did not identify the parties responsible for the tragedy.

However, Russia has since denied the matter and asked the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to conduct a new investigation into the tragedy.

In a separate development, Liow said the ministry has not received any application or appeals from operators of commercial vehicles or public transportation to use foreign drivers.

The ministry via the Road Transport Department was serious in tackling the case of foreigners driving public transportation, and was firm in reminding operators or company owners that their business licence would be withdrawn if they contravened the regulations concerning allowing foreigners to be drivers.

The media reported that 166 foreigners were detained since January for driving commercial vehicles, an offence under the RTD Act, which states that the Goods Driving Licence (GDL) would not be issued to foreigners for business using vehicles in this country.

On the UKM Alumni Wall of Fame, Liow who was chosen as Most Famous Alumni said it was an honour for him as a former student and he was confident that the involvement of the alumni in supporting and contributing to the university was important for the university’s growth.

Besides Liow, others who were listed include Second Deputy Minister of Education Chong Sin Woon; Malaysian Teachers’ Foundation executive chairman Alimuddin Mohd Dom; Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Shukri Abdull and Accountant-General Che Pee Samsudin.

Since it was set up in May 1970, UKM has produced 176,009 alumni.