Malaysia cannot easily accept some of investigation team’s findings on MH17: Mahathir

Asia World

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: Malaysia cannot “easily accept” some of the findings of the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Thursday (Sep 5), Dr Mahathir said Malaysia has doubts about the findings and expressed the need to have a neutral body, which includes experts from many countries familiar with similar crashes, to investigate.

“When you have countries that suffered because of (the crash), obviously they are bound to be a little bit biased,” he said.

Flight MH17 was shot down over Donetsk, Ukraine, on Jul 17, 2014. It was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carried 298 people onboard, most of whom were Dutch. 

The JIT consists of representatives from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

It concluded that the aircraft was downed by a BUK anti-aircraft missile fired by pro-Russian separatists in their conflict against Ukraine. 

READ: Key questions as flight MH17 remembered five years on

READ: Driver who transported missile that shot down MH17 jailed, says Ukraine

In June, it announced that three Russians – Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov – and a Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko, would be charged with the downing of MH17.

“The findings are also something we cannot easily accept,” he said. “Identifying the missiles, yes. The area where it happened, that can be verified, but identifying the actual firing, by whom, that would be very difficult in the usual circumstances.”

Dr Mahathir was in Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

He added that he was not doubting the JIT’s truthfulness. However, he also said that certain claims made by the team, particularly in identifying those responsible for firing the missile, were not easily acceptable.

“It’s very difficult for anybody to determine (who fired the missile) because once the missile is fired, they can move to other places,” he said. “You can identify parts of the missile, determine what kind of missile or which part of the plane was damaged, but to say that you know who fired the missile, that is a little bit too much for us to accept.

“I don’t have any relatives who were killed there, I don’t have any right to any insurance claim but I am seeing this as an observer from the outside and some of the findings made (by JIT) did not sound to me and many people in Malaysia as being quite right.”

Dr Mahathir said it was important to find other evidence to determine the culprit and the country involved in the firing of the missile.

“If they can discover (that) from other evidence, then that would be legitimate and I think the relatives of the victims would be able to make their claims,” he said.

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