MH17 foundation raps Dr M for ‘sowing discord’ over JIT findings

Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Dutch foundation supporting victims of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has accused Dr Mahathir Mohamad of “sowing discord” by not supporting findings of Russian involvement in the downing of the plane five years ago.

“By your statements … you are certainly not serving the interests of the relatives (and in particular the Malaysian relatives),” reads a letter by the Stichting Vliegramp MH17 group to the prime minister that was sent to his office yesterday.

It added that Mahathir is “causing confusion” about the actual position of the Malaysian government and its Joint Investigation Team (JIT) representatives in the MH17 case through his recent remarks.

“Despite all the established agreements and rulings of representatives of Malaysia in the JIT and representatives of your government, we must, unfortunately, state that you, as prime minister, have continually questioned the integrity and independence of the JIT investigation.”

The group said it strongly rejects this “approach”.

“We urge you to refrain from statements and/or activities that are contrary to the truth and that conflict with internationally-made agreements … and earlier statements by your government,” it added.

The group also questioned a conference on MH17 that was co-organised earlier this month by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation, which Mahathir founded.

It said based on the line-up of speakers and reports from the forum, “we cannot avoid the impression that the conference had no other purpose than to discredit the investigation and findings of the JIT, supported by your own justice apparatus and your own government”.

Stichting Vliegramp MH17 was established in November 2014. The group represents the interests of families of the victims of the flight. Relatives of Malaysian victims are also members.

Flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17 that year, killing all 298 people on board, mostly Dutch nationals. In June, the JIT announced the alleged involvement of Russian servicemen in the tragedy.

Mahathir has since accused the JIT of being politically motivated in accusing individuals linked to Russia for the tragedy, saying investigators had all along wanted to accuse Russia as the culprit.

“And now they say they have proof who the person is (persons are). This is ridiculous,” he said at the time. “We want proof of guilt but so far there’s no proof, only hearsay.”

Stichting Vliegramp MH17 noted that all countries participating in the JIT had endorsed its findings, including Malaysia.

It said a letter to the UN Security Council on June 20, on behalf of the five JIT countries, stated that Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and The Netherlands have full confidence that these legal proceedings would contribute to achieving justice.

They also cited a reply they received from the Malaysian ambassador in The Netherlands which said that Malaysia is committed to ensuring the process is transparent, credible and effective.