“The integrity of the site has been compromised and there are indications that
vital evidence has not been preserved. Interfering with the scene of the
crash risks undermining the investigation itself. Any action that prevents
us from learning the truth… cannot be tolerated.”
Liow Tiong Lai called for a United Nations-brokered ceasefire and the
establishment of a “safe corridor” so that investigators and rescue teams
could access the crash site to retrieve the bodies of the deceased.
“Their lives were taken by violence. Now violence stops them being accorded
their final respects. This cannot continue.”
Malaysia was initially cautious in its public response to the downing of
Flight MH17 but its language has clearly hardened over the last 24 hours.
On Saturday, the transport minister described what had happened as “an
unacceptable act of aggression” and demanded that those responsible “face
the full force of justice without delay”.
Asked by The Telegraph what his message to those responsible for that act
would be, the minister became visibly emotional.
“We have to appreciate life. We must respect life. We mustn’t take life for
granted. We must stop violence,” he said.
Momentarily appearing on the verge of tears, the minister added: “It is
inhumane to shoot down a commercial aircraft. It is very painful. We are
very sad. We are angry.”
Malaysian authorities continued to deny they had made a mistake allowing
Flight MH17 to fly through Ukrainian airspace even though other major
carriers, including British Airways and Cathay Pacific, have been avoiding
such routes because of the conflict.
“It never strayed into restricted airspace,” the minister said, comparing the
flight’s route to an open motorway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
“Half way the bridge collapses. Can you blame me?”
“The flight and its operators followed the rules but on the ground the rules
of war were broken. In an unacceptable act of aggression it appears that
MH17 was shot down. It’s passengers and crew killed by a missile. This
outrage cannot go unpunished. Once again Malaysia condemns this brutal act
of aggression and calls for those responsible to be found and to face the
full force of justice without delay.”
Captain Izham Ismail, Malaysia Airlines’ Director of Operation, also defended
the company and said safety was “paramount” to it.
“All airlines conduct their own threat analysis,” he said, adding: “I believe
we did not make a mistake.”
Malaysia "deeply concerned" about crash site interference and demands "full ...