5 years on, families of MH17 victims find solace in KL commemoration ceremony

Nur Diyana Yazeera and her family members hold sunflowers at a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s hard to believe that the downing of MH17 over Ukraine happened five years ago.

Yesterday, over 50 family members and relatives of MH17 victims gathered at the Australian High Commission to mark the anniversary of the July 17, 2014 tragedy.

The victims of MH17 were from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, Britain, Belgium, Germany, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand.

Nur Diyana Yazeera, 20, cannot forget when she lost her mother, Dora Shahila Kassim, chief stewardess on the doomed aircraft.

“At this very moment five years ago, we had no idea our lives were about to change forever.”

She said that the pain of losing her mother has slightly subsided over the years but it still feels like yesterday when her grandmother told her the awful news. She is still upset that there remain so many unanswered questions about the cause of the disaster.

Patrick Sivagnanam speaks at the commemoration ceremony for the victims of flight MH17.

Speaking to FMT, Patrick Sivagnanam, 54 who lost his brother, sister-in-law and nephew on MH17, said his last message from his brother was: “In plane, MH flight leaves in 10 minutes and will arrive 6pm.”

“I will never forget discovering the whole family had perished. It’s ingrained in my memory,” said Patrick.

He expressed his gratitude to the Australian High Commission and the Netherlands Embassy for the commemoration ceremony. He is happy that they have not forgotten the people that perished onboard MH17 although it has been five years since that awful day.

Speaking to the families of the 283 passengers and 15 crew members on the Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, one can see the emptiness and pain remains.

A 15-month investigation by the joint investigation team (JIT) led by the Dutch Safety Board confirmed that MH17 was brought down by a Russian-made BUK missile.

The JIT has named four suspects to be charged over the deaths.

Patrick praised JIT and other authorities involved in the investigation for their commitment to identifying those responsible for the shooting down of the airliner.

“I believe many other families who lost their loved ones can now heave a sigh of relief knowing justice will be served.”

Nur Diyana Yazeera, who lost her mother in the MH17 plane crash.

Diyana told FMT she was only 15 when the aircraft crashed and she had no idea what was going on.

As the years passed, she became aware of the background and the theories. Now with the proposed criminal proceedings, she intends to get much more involved.

However, on June 20, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad described the decision to charge four individuals with murder over the downing as a political plot against Russia.

He was not convinced by JIT’s findings and demanded that the investigators provide proof that the Russians were behind the shooting down.

This is something everyone involved is waiting for.

Shathana Kasinathan is an intern at FMT.