Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MH17: About 100 bodies not accounted for

abbottSYDNEY: Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today it was possible that many bodies from the MH17 crash were still lying in the open in Ukraine, as remains were recovered from a morgue train.
All 298 people onboard the Malaysia Airlines jet, including 28 Australian nationals and nine residents, were killed after the aircraft was shot down over eastern Ukraine last week.
“It’s quite possible that many bodies are still out there, in the open in the European summer, subject to interference, and subject to the ravages of heat and animals,” Abbott told a press conference.
The remains of the victims were taken by train to the government-held Ukrainian city of Kharkiv yesterday, after rebels controlling the crash site finally released them and the plane’s black boxes under intense international pressure.
Dutch experts have said they were only sure 200 bodies had been recovered so far – well short of accounting for all those onboard.
“Based on early inspection of the carriages in Kharkiv, we just don’t know how many bodies we have,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra.
The Australian leader called for a “full recovery search” of the vast crash site, saying such an operation was “necessary if all of the bodies are to be recovered”.
He added that he had “serious concerns” about the recovery of the victims’ bodies.
“It has been quite unprofessional up until now,” he said.
“As long as it’s possible that there are any Australian remains out there, we owe it to the families to do our utmost to recover them.”
Abbott, whose government was behind a UN Security Council resolution unanimously demanded full access to the site, has been highly critical of efforts to secure the crash zone.
He said his special envoy in eastern Ukraine, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, told him the crash site needed to be secured and that a “large team” was required to “identify anything that might have been missed up to now”.
“Because it’s entirely possible in his view that there could be further human remains or further significant wreckage in the area,” Abbott said, adding that the debris zone was estimated to cover about 50sq km.
“It might be the partial remains of a loved one. It might be a small but critical piece of the aircraft or the missile that is the key to the investigation.”
Pro-Russian separatists and prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai has said his rebels “will order a ceasefire in an area of 10km” around the site of the disaster.
Abbott’s comments came as US intelligence officials said the Malaysian flight may have been shot down by “mistake” by ill-trained pro-Russian separatists, while dismissing Moscow’s accounts of the incident as propaganda.
Earlier, Abbott said Australian families affected by the tragedy would be offered the opportunity to go to the Netherlands – where the remains will be identified – to travel home with the bodies.
“By its very nature, it may take some weeks before we can honour the dead by returning them to those they loved and those that loved them. But we will bring them home,” Abbott said in a statement. – AFP

MH 17: Dunia berkabung, kuasa dunia bertembung


SUDAH jatuh ditimpa tangga, luka lama belum sembuh, luka baru pula muncul, demikianlah perasaan tidak terungkap walaupun dengan kiasan bahasa.

Negara berkabung sebelumnya pada kehilangan MH370 yang hingga saat ini tidak muncul-muncul dan kini MH17 pula dikatakan menjadi sasaran peluru berpandu di kawasan yang menjadi rebutan.

Pada saat rakyat Malaysia, Belanda, Australia, Indonesia dan lain-lain yang menjadi mangsa korban berkabung, kuasa besar pula bersedia untuk bertembung.

Tiada siapa yang menafikan kuasa besar sebenarnya tidak peduli apa yang berlaku kepada mangsa, apa yang mereka pentingkan adalah perimbangan kuasa mereka di Eropah Timur dan meneruskan dasar ‘proxy war’ untuk terus berkuasa.


Lanjutan Perang Dingin

Amerika selepas Perang Dunia ke-II berhadapan dengan peperangan ideologi antara  ‘komunis’ Russia dan ‘liberal’ Amerika.

Dunia dibahagikan melalui tirai besi antara pengaruh komunis Russia dan liberal kapitalis Amerika. Suasana ini melahirkan apa yang dinamakan sebagai ‘perang dingin’ bermula tahun 1946.

Dasar Amerika Syarikat adalah untuk membentuk keadaan bertahan atau berkawal (containment) dan bersedia bila-bila masa untuk berperang (roll-back).

Amerika dan sekutunya mewujudkan Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) untuk mengimbangi penguasaan komunis di Eropah Timur. Russia mewujudkan Pakatan Warsaw bagi mengumpulkan negara-negara Eropah Timur yang tunduk kepada ketuanannya.


Peperangan Proksi

Dalam mengekalkan dasar ‘containment’ dan perluasan komunis berlaku beberapa ‘proxy war’ yang pada matlamatnya adalah untuk memenuhi kehendak pihak yang lebih besar iaitu Amerika dan Rusia.

Namun permainan ‘cold war’ ini berubah langkah apabila Soviet Union runtuh dan Rusia menjadi persekutuan (federation) dan negara-negara bawah kuasa Soviet menuntut autonomi.

Begitu juga salah satu negara yang besar terbentuk di bawah keruntuhan ini iaitu Ukraine. Ukraine yang memiliki tapak senjata nuklear ketiga terbesar semasa era Soviet Union bersetuju untuk menyerahkan dalam program perjanjian penyerahan senjata nuklear dengan syarat ia diberi kemerdekaan sebagai sebuah negara yang bebas.

Ukraine memilih untuk berkiblatkan ke arah Amerika yang sangat memerlukan negara yang menjadi proksinya untuk mengawasi kebangkitan semula komunisme.


Kebangkitan Semula Rusia

Vladimir Putin bagi warga keturunan Russia adalah simbol kebangkitan dan Presiden Rusia itu tidak ada pilihan untuk membangkitkan semangat Rusia melainkan ia perlu menunjukkan taringnya dan kali ini Ukraine menjadi mangsanya.

Penjajahan Semenanjung Crimea yang terletak di Timur Ukraine adalah isyarat kebangkitan Rusia yang sudah mula menunjukkan dasar penjajahan baru.

Amerika tidak selesa kerana khuatir kemenangannya menguasai Eropah Timur akan terjejas dengan kebangkitan penjajahan baru Rusia. Rusia membekalkan senjata kepada pemberontak Ukraine berbangsa Rusia untuk melemahkan kedudukan Ukraine.

Ia seolah pengisytiharan perang ke atas Amerika Syarikat dan kuasa Nato. Apakah peperangan baru era Putin akan meledak?


Mengapa MH17?

Sukar untuk menjawab persoalan ini seperti mana sukar untuk menjawab ke mana hilangnya MH370. Tetapi yang pasti Malaysia dijadikan umpan untuk perang kuasa besar supaya Amerika Syarikat ada mempunyai alasan yang ‘kuat’ untuk campur tangan ke atas Ukraine.

Rakyat Malaysia sebenarnya tidak peduli siapa yang menembak MH17 dan tidak berminat dalam ‘blame game’ ini. Bagi kita, siapa sahaja yang melakukan kejahatan ini adalah binatang dalam topeng manusia. Mereka tidak berhati-perut untuk menjadikan kapal terbang awam sebagai bidikan.

Dunia mengutuk dalam kegilaan kuasa besar mencatur bidak-bidak mereka termasuk Belanda yang mencatat mangsa paling ramai yang terkorban.


Kutuk Kuasa Besar

Ia adalah mainan kuasa besar yang bernafsu untuk membuka medan perang baru setelah mereka merosakkan Palestin dan menghancurkan Gazza saat artikel ini ditulis.

Malaysia perlu berdiri dengan penuh maruah untuk tidak mengambil pihak dalam perang gila ini dan mengutuk Amerika dan Rusia kerana mengheret Malaysia dalam peperangan mereka.

Buat masa ini keutamaan adalah memastikan mayat mangsa dikembalikan kepada keluarga masing-masing sementara dunia menantikan jawapan dalam kotak hitam untuk menentukan samada MH17 telah ditembak atau tidak.

Bagi rakyat Malaysia, hari ini berlangsung sidang khas Parlimen untuk seluruh negara mendapat penjelasan awal dan supaya ahli Parlimen mendapat peluang untuk berbahas.

Kesemua 222 Ahli Parlimen Malaysia bersetuju sebulat suara dengan usul Perdana Menteri kerana ia adalah soal maruah dan harga diri sebuah negara. Tidak ada siapa yang perlu mempertikaikannya.

Malaysia berkabung kuasa besar pula bertembung....

Teks penuh usul mengenai tragedi MH17



Berikut teks penuh Usul Mengenai Tragedi Malang Yang Menimpa Pesawat Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 pada 17 Julai 2014, yang dibentangkan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak di Dewan Rakyat pada Rabu:
  
Kira-kira jam 11 malam, pada hari Khamis 17 Julai 2014, bersamaan 19 Ramadan 1435 Hijrah, satu tarikh yang tidak akan luput dalam ingatan, apabila saya menerima panggilan daripada Pengerusi Malaysia Airlines, Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof, berkaitan MH17.
  
Ternyata, belum pun reda tragedi MH370, kini peristiwa tragik MH17 berlaku tanpa diundang.

Bahawa, atas ketentuan Ilahi jua, satu peristiwa tragik telah berlaku. Dunia secara umum dan khususnya kita rakyat Malaysia, telah dikejutkan dengan tragedi tidak terduga, apabila pesawat komersial Boeing 777-200 Malaysia Airlines penerbangan MH17 dari Amsterdam ke Kuala Lumpur diberitakan terhempas.
  
Dalam tempoh kurang dua jam, saya telah tiba di bilik operasi MAS KLIA, bersama beberapa orang Menteri. Kami diberi taklimat daripada pihak pengurusan MAS tentang apa yang berlaku. Setelah itu, tanpa berlengah, saya tidak putus-putus menghubungi dan dihubungi oleh beberapa pemimpin dunia antaranya Presiden Obama dari Amerika Syarikat, Perdana Menteri Mark Rutte dari negara
Belanda dan Presiden Ukraine Petro Poroshenko tentang musibah yang terjadi.
  
Selepas itu, lebih kurang pukul 2 pagi, saya telah membuat keputusan segera untuk menghantar pasukan khas ke kawasan bencana tersebut.
  
Akhirnya, sekitar jam 5 pagi, saya telah mengadakan sidang akhbar khas, untuk memaklumkan kepada rakyat Malaysia dan seluruh dunia, tentang apa sebenarnya yang sedang berlaku pada ketika itu.
  
Untuk makluman dewan yang mulia ini, penerbangan tersebut berlepas kira-kira jam 12.15 tengah hari waktu tempatan, dijadualkan tiba di KLIA pada jam 6.10 pagi waktu Malaysia. Pesawat itu membawa sejumlah 298 orang, yang terdiri daripada 283 penumpang dan 15 anak kapal. Seramai 43 orang daripadanya merupakan warganegara Malaysia termasuklah dua orang bayi.
  
Pihak Malaysia Airlines turut mengesahkan menerima makluman daripada Pusat Kawalan Trafik Udara atau ATC, Ukraine yang ia terputus hubungan dengan pesawat MH17 pada pukul 10.15 malam waktu tempatan, kira-kira 50 kilometer dari sempadan Rusia-Ukraine.
  
    Pernyataan Takziah dan Belasungkawa
  
Justeru, bagi mewakili pihak Kerajaan dan rakyat Malaysia, saya menzahirkan perasaan amat dukacita, rasa sangat sedih dan kepiluan yang amat sangat terhadap tragedi yang menimpa penumpang-penumpang serta anak-anak kapal pesawat MH17.
  
Lanjutan itu, ucapan takziah dan belasungkawa serta simpati yang sangat mendalam juga, terutama kepada seluruh anggota keluarga, rakan taulan dan kenalan mangsa-mangsa tragedi. Adalah diharapkan semoga mereka semua terus cekal dan tabah dalam menempuh dugaan yang amat berat lagi mencabar ini.
  
Dalam hal ini, kita juga telah memutuskan pada 18 hingga 21 Julai 2014 lalu, Kerajaan telah mengisytiharkan panji-panji negara yakni Jalur Gemilang, dikibarkan separuh tiang di seluruh negara.
  
Kepada yang beragama Islam, marilah kita sedekahkan Ummul Kitab Al-fatihah dan kepada yang beragama lain, kita bertafakur sejenak.

Fakta-Fakta Mustahak

Beberapa fakta penting yang perlu diperincikan dalam dewan yang mulia ini.
  
Fakta pertama: Jumlah mangsa yang terkorban. Bagi makluman semua, Malaysia Airlines telah menyenaraikan kewarganegaraan penumpang dan anak kapal pesawat MH17 yang terlibat dengan insiden ini. Senarai kemaskini pada 18 Julai 2014 berdasarkan pecahan warganegara yang dikenal pasti adalah seperti berikut:
  
- Belanda   - 192 orang
  
- Malaysia  - 43 orang (termasuk 15 anak kapal dan 2 bayi)
  
- Australia - 27 orang
  
- Indonesia - 12 orang (termasuk seorang bayi)
  
- United Kingdom - 10 orang (termasuk 1 dwi-kerakyatan UK/Afrika selatan)
  
- Jerman    - 4 orang
  
- Belgium   - 4 orang
  
- Filipina  - 3 orang
 
- Amerika   - 1 orang (dwi kerakyatan Amerika/Belanda)
 
- Kanada    - 1 orang
  
- New Zealand - 1 orang
  
Ini menjadikan kesemua mangsa yang terkorban berjumlah 298 orang, terdiri daripada 283 penumpang dan 15 anak kapal. Ini termasuk 83 orang kanak-kanak dan tiga bayi yang tidak berdosa.
  
Fakta kedua: Laluan Penerbangan MAS diperakui selamat. Berkaitan laluan penerbangan yang digunakan oleh MAS pula, perlu saya jelaskan, bahawa laluan penerbangan yang direntasi pesawat MH17 ini merupakan laluan yang diperakui selamat dan diluluskan oleh International Civil Aviation Organization atau Pertubuhan Penerbangan Awam Antarabangsa ICAO, serta negara Ukraine yang ruang
udaranya turut dijadikan laluan penerbangan. Tambahan lagi, Persatuan Pengangkutan Udara Antarabangsa atau IATA juga telah menyatakan ruang udara yang direntasi pesawat itu adalah laluan udara yang selamat.
  
Sebagai contoh, 15 daripada 16 syarikat penerbangan dalam Persatuan Penerbangan Asia Pasifik turut menggunakan laluan ini untuk ke Ukraine. Syarikat penerbangan Eropah juga menggunakan laluan sama dan merentasi ruang udara yang sama. Malah, beberapa jam sebelum nahas, beberapa pesawat penumpang syarikat penerbangan dari beberapa negara Asia turut menggunakan laluan yang sama.
  
Untuk makluman juga, menurut Wall Street Journal, yang memetik laporan daripada Eurocontrol, terdapat 400 penerbangan komersial, termasuk 150 penerbangan antarabangsa dilaporkan merentasi ruang udara timur Ukraine setiap hari. Malah, dua hari sebelum berlakunya tragedi ini, sebanyak 75 penerbangan daripada pelbagai syarikat penerbangan yang berbeza turut menggunakan laluan yang sama, sepertimana laluan yang digunakan oleh Pesawat MH17. Lagi pula, ketika pada hari kejadian itu juga, juruterbang Pesawat MH17 tidak menerima sebarang arahan untuk menukar laluan penerbangan.
  
Fakta ketiga: Fizikal dan Teknikal Pesawat MAS berkeadaan baik. Berkait soal keadaan fizikal serta teknikal pesawat pula, pada awal pagi 18 Julai 2014 lalu, MAS telah mengeluarkan kenyataan dan mengesahkan bahawa pesawat MH17 berada dalam keadaan baik. MAS turut mengesahkan semua sistem pesawat berfungsi seperti biasa, terutamanya Aircraft Communications Addressing And Reporting System (ACARS) dan transponder pesawat.
  
Fakta keempat: Undang-Undang Antarabangsa. Tindakan menembak jatuh pesawat ini, bukan sahaja perbuatan yang sangat zalim, malah bertentangan serta melanggar prinsip sepertimana yang ditetapkan oleh undang-undang antarabangsa melalui Convention on International Civil Aviation atau lebih dikenali sebagai Chicago Convention dan diiktiraf oleh Majlis Keselamatan Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu atau PBB dalam Resolusi 1067 (1996).
  
Dalam hal ini, PBB telah sebulat suara menerima pakai resolusi bagi mendesak puak pemisah memberi akses tanpa halangan ke tempat kejadian di mana pesawat MH17 terhempas di Ukraine. Ia juga mendesak agar semua kegiatan ketenteraan, termasuk oleh kumpulan bersenjata, dihentikan serta-merta di sekeliling kawasan terbabit dengan insiden berkenaan, bagi membolehkan penyiasatan antarabangsa dilakukan dengan selamat.
  
Sehubungan itu, saya juga telah mengarahkan Peguam Negara untuk mengkaji perkara ini dengan mendalam dan teliti, bagi memastikan sebarang tindakan yang akan diambil oleh Malaysia kelak, berlandaskan serta selaras dengan undang-undang antarabangsa yang terpakai dalam hal keadaan sebegini.

Tuntutan dan Gesaan Malaysia
  
Sebagai makluman Ahli-Ahli Yang Berhormat, pada 17 Julai 2014, iaitu beberapa jam selepas pesawat MH17 terhempas, pegawai di Amerika Syarikat dan Ukraine mendakwa pesawat tersebut telah ditembak jatuh di timur Ukraine.
  
Jika benar dakwaan tersebut berlaku, kita mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya tindakan yang tidak berperikemanusiaan, tidak bertamadun, biadab dan bersifat ganas lagi tidak bertanggungjawab oleh pihak yang dipercayai menembak jatuh pesawat malang MH17.
  
Namun demikian, buat masa ini, kita tidak menuding jari kepada mana-mana pihak, sehinggalah bukti benar-benar sahih dapat diperolehi.
  
Saya difahamkan bahawa kawasan berlakunya kejadian tersebut, telah dikuasai serta dikawal oleh kumpulan pemisah. Namun demikian, saya merasa agak marah dan kecewa disebabkan oleh dua perkara iaitu:
  
Perkara pertama: Apabila saya dimaklumkan bahawa mereka tidak menghormati kawasan tragedi kemalangan itu sebagai kawasan larangan serta tidak mengikut atau mematuhi piawai amalan antarabangsa untuk memastikan bahan-bahan bukti tidak hilang dan tidak tercemar.
  
Perkara kedua: Kelewatan dalam mengendalikan tragedi itu, yang menyebabkan kegagalan memberi penghormatan dan menjaga maruah mayat-mayat mangsa yang sepatutnya mereka terima.
  
Di samping itu juga, Malaysia menggesa ICAO, selaku penjaga keselamatan penerbangan awam sedunia, untuk mengeluarkan resolusi yang mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya serangan ke atas pesawat MH17, sebagaimana yang telah dibuat terdahulu dalam kes penembakan pesawat udara yang lain.
  
Tambahan pula, perbuatan menembak jatuh pesawat komersial MH17 ini, suatu tindakan sangat zalim dan merupakan jenayah yang sangat kejam dan sangat ganas.
  
Seperti yang dinyatakan dalam Annex 13, Konvensyen ICAO, Kerajaan Ukraine perlu bertanggungjawab untuk menjalankan siasatan yang membawa kepada berlakunya nahas itu. Laporan kemaskini siasatan perlu diberikan kepada keluarga terdekat sepertimana tertakluk di dalam garis panduan ICAO.
  
Semestinya, Malaysia akan menawarkan sokongan penuh tidak berbelah bahagi untuk terlibat sama dalam siasatan ini. Untuk makluman, Menteri Pengangkutan Malaysia, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai dan Menteri Luar, Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman antara yang telahpun berada di Kiev, Ukraine.
  
Oleh yang demikian, Malaysia juga mengalu-alukan gesaan untuk siasatan oleh badan bebas antarabangsa mengenai nahas itu, dan mendesak semua pihak untuk bekerjasama bagi memastikan siasatan itu dapat diselesaikan. Kita menuntut dan menyokong siasatan antarabangsa yang bebas dalam tragedi ini. Pihak yang bertanggungjawab terhadap berlakunya tragedi ini perlu dibawa dan dihadapkan ke muka pengadilan.

Berkait dengan itu, pada Jumaat lalu, kita telah menghantar sebuah pesawat yang membawa satu pasukan khas sejumlah 133 orang, terdiri daripada pasukan SMART, pegawai-pegawai teknikal, kumpulan perubatan dan Jakim ke kawasan bencana. Satu Pasukan Penyiasatan Khas juga terdiri daripada wakil dari Malaysia, Belanda, Britain dan Amerika Syarikat telah dibentuk.
  
Kepada ahli keluarga dan waris mangsa nahas pula, MAS telahpun menghantar seramai 40 kakitangannya ke Amsterdam untuk memberi bantuan dan sokongan moral kepada ahli keluarga mangsa.
  
Selanjutnya, saya juga telah menerima banyak panggilan daripada pemimpin-pemimpin dunia yang memberi sokongan dan simpati serta berjanji akan menghulurkan pertolongan dalam apa jua bentuk yang terdaya. Tentunya, bagi pihak Kerajaan dan rakyat Malaysia, saya merakamkan berbanyak-banyak terima kasih atas sokongan mereka dan masyarakat dunia kepada Malaysia.

Kejayaan Tiga Persetujuan

Ketahuilah, secara prinsipnya apa telah dilakukan ke atas mayat mangsa adalah perbuatan yang salah, namun, setidak-tidaknya hasil perundingan dengan ketua kumpulan pemisah, kita berjaya mengurangkan kerosakan yang lebih besar.
  
Lantas, tidak semua tindakan perlu kita hebahkan. Dengan izin, “sometimes we must work quitely in the service of a better outcome” yakni, adakalanya kita mesti bekerja secara senyap dalam perkhidmatan demi mendapatkan keberhasilan yang lebih baik, terutama ketika berhubung dengan ketua kumpulan pemisah, dengan nawaitu dan hasrat murni bagi memastikan mangsa-mangsa dapat
dikembalikan serta diberi penghormatan untuk disemadikan, meskipun masanya sudah berlalu.
  
Alhamdulillah, pada hari Isnin 21 haribulan Julai 2014 yang lalu, dalam keadaan yang sukar, saya terpaksa mengambil keputusan berisiko, demi kepentingan mayat-mayat mangsa tragedi dan untuk mendapatkan kepastian serta realiti sebenar tentang apa yang telah berlaku.
  
Dalam hal ini, saya telah berunding dengan Alexander Borodai, iaitu Ketua Pemisah Pro-Rusia, kerana kawasan berkenaan dikuasai oleh mereka. Hasil rundingan tersebut telah berjaya mencapai tiga persetujuan iaitu:
  
i) Pertama: Kesemua mayat mangsa MH17 yang ditemui, yang dianggarkan berjumlah 282, telah dibawa dari Torev ke bandar Kharkiv di Ukraine dengan menaiki kereta api, sebelum diterbangkan ke Amsterdam dengan diiringi oleh enam anggota pasukan penyelamat Malaysia pada jam 1 pagi, hari Selasa 22 Julai 2014 dan telah sampai pada pukul 11.00 pagi waktu tempatan. Selepas kerja-kerja forensik yang akan dilakukan di Amsterdam, kesemua mayat rakyat Malaysia akan dibawa pulang ke tanah air dengan seberapa segera. Saya lakukan perkara-perkara ini dan akan berusaha sedaya mungkin, sebab saya sudah berjanji sewaktu bertemu dengan keluarga mangsa, seboleh-bolehnya menjelang Syawal ini, semua mayat mangsa dapat disemadikan dengan selamat. Barulah damai dan tenteram hati-hati pihak keluarga korban tragedi.
  
ii) Kedua: Dua kotak hitam pesawat MH17 telah diserahkan kepada pasukan Malaysia di Donetsk, pada pukul 9 malam, hari Isnin 21 Julai 2014, waktu Ukraine, untuk dijadikan hak milik Malaysia. Tanpanya, agak sukar untuk kita meneruskan siasatan. Kotak hitam tersebut telah diserahkan kepada pasukan penyiasat yang diketuai oleh negara Belanda dan akan dihantar ke London untuk siasatan lanjut.
  
iii) Ketiga: Semua anggota penyiasat bebas antarabangsa diberi akses masuk dan jaminan keselamatan ke lokasi nahas untuk melakukan siasatan komprehensif terhadap tragedi MH17. Namun begitu, perkara tersebut belum lagi menjadi kenyataan sepenuhnya.
  
Hakikatnya, inilah takwim yang sungguh bertragis bagi kita. Meskipun begitu, pada saat dan detik-detik sukar lagi amat menduga di bulan Ramadan inilah kita semestinya memperkukuhkan lagi solidariti dan semangat perpaduan sesama kita, demi menghadapi semuanya ini. Insya-Allah.
  
Tiada kata-kata yang dapat melukiskan kesedihan. Tiada umpama yang dapat menjadi ganti kehilangan insan yang dikasihi. Maka itu, demi menghadapi waktu-waktu sukar ini, tidak kira apa latar belakang politik dan agama, kita sewajibnya bersatu hati sebagai satu negara, 1Malaysia.
  
Sehubungan itu, janganlah membuat spekulasi yang boleh mengaibkan mangsa dan keluarga mangsa. Ini bukan masanya untuk kita berwenang-wenang di sosial media menceritakan sesuatu yang barangkali faktanya tidak tepat atau tidak sahih.
      
Pada kesempatan ini, saya ingin merakamkan ucapan terima kasih kepada Ketua Pembangkang dan Ahli Yang Berhormat Gelang Patah serta ketua-ketua parti lain, kerana tampil memberi kenyataan yang menyifatkan tragedi MH17, seumpama pembunuhan beramai-ramai dan pembunuhnya mestilah dibawa ke muka pengadilan.
  
Meskipun begitu, dalam masa kita masih diselubungi perasaan dukacita dan kesedihan yang amat sangat, kita sesekali tidak pernah lupa tentang nasib buruk yang menimpa saudara seakidah kita rakyat Palestin di bumi Gaza, telah mengorbankan banyak nyawa yang tidak berdosa, akibat kekejaman serta kezaliman. Oleh itu, kita mendesak supaya gencatan senjata dilakukan serta merta.

Jelasnya, walaupun banyak ikhtiar yang telah kita lakukan, namun masih ada lagi tugasan yang perlu diselesaikan. Walaupun masih getir dan mencabar serta menempuh pelbagai rintangan, kita tidak sekali-kali akan berhenti separuh jalan.
  
Lantaran itu, kita menggesa penyiasatan mestilah dilakukan oleh sebuah pasukan bebas bagi menyiasat punca-punca pesawat MH17 terhempas. Beberapa persoalan yang inginkan jawapan segera seperti adakah ia ditembak dengan peluru berpandu, angkara siapa, siapa bekalkan persenjataan, apa motif mereka sebenarnya?
  
Lanjutan, adakah ia ditembak secara terancang, dengan niat menjatuhkan pesawat komersial atau kesilapan yang tidak disengajakan? Pasti semuanya ini, perlukan bukti yang jelas dan benar-benar sahih.
  
Walau apa pun yang dilakukan, ini tidak akan dapat mengembalikan apa yang telah hilang. Bayangkan bagaimana anak yang berusia setahun membesar tanpa kasih sayang ayahnya iaitu Ahmad Hakimi Hanapi, seorang pembantu juruterbang, yang menjadi mangsa korban dalam tragedi ini. Tambah memilukan, ibunya pula telah kehilangan suami.
  
Bagaimana pula nasib dan masa depan Amarpal Singh, alangkah gundah hatinya sebagai seorang pelajar perubatan, di mana kos pengajian selama ini, telah ditanggung oleh ayahnya yang menjadi mangsa tragedi ini?
  
Cuba fikirkan betapa leburnya hati seorang nenek, Jamillah Noriah Abang Anuar, dari Kuching, Sarawak yang kehilangan 6 ahli keluarga tersayangnya.
  
Bak kata pepatah, berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu memikul. Secara peribadi, saya merasai apa yang mereka alami apabila nenek tiri saya sendiri merupakan salah seorang daripada mangsa tersebut.
  
Berkait insiden itu juga, tambah memilukan, dunia telah kehilangan sekumpulan pakar saintis yang terlibat dalam penyelidikan berkaitan AIDS dan HIV, sedang dalam perjalanan untuk menghadiri Persidangan AIDS Antarabangsa di Australia.
  
Sebenarnya, banyak lagi kisah-kisah yang tidak dapat saya utarakan di sini. Sebagai contoh, negara Belanda telah kehilangan sejumlah 192 rakyatnya dalam tragedi MH17. Jumlah ini sangat besar berdasarkan nisbah peratusan penduduk negaranya.
  
Sebab itu, saya berpendirian bahawa pergolakan geo-politik ini tidak menguntungkan sesiapa. Ini hanya menyebabkan manusia semakin menderita apabila kehilangan orang tersayang dan dunia pula kehilangan insan-insan berwibawa.
  
Justeru, kepada keluarga mangsa tragedi MH17, usahlah merasa bimbang, kerana selagi jawapan belum ketemu, selagi itulah kita tidak berhenti mencari kebenarannya. Sesukar dan sepayah mana pun, keadilan yang dituntut, pasti akan kita kembalikan kepada keluarga mangsa.

Sesungguhnya jua, let us walk through this difficult time together. Marilah kita jalani tempoh-tempoh dan waktu-waktu yang payah ini bersama-sama, bersatu dalam kesedihan. Moga-moga yang Maha Berkuasa memberi bantuan dan pencerahannya agar ada cahaya penyelesaian di hujung.
  
Atas segalanya, sempena keberkatan dan hari-hari akhir Ramadan al-Mubarak ini, banyakkanlah berdoa dan berharap agar Allah SWT memberi bantuan serta pertolongan, dalam ikhtiar-ikhtiar kita mencari penyelesaian. Mengambil iktibar mafhum pengertian surah Al-Insyirah, pada setiap kesukaran itu pastinya ada hikmah-hikmah menanti yang telah ditetapkan oleh Maha Pencipta. Dalam segala
kudrat manusia, kepada Allah kita membuat segala penyerahan dan mengembalikan segala urusan.
  
- Bernama

'No forgiveness for MH17 culprits, only justice'



The special parliamentary sitting called by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on the MAS Flight MH17 tragedy is currently in session.

LIVE REPORTS

Motion to condemn downing of MH17 passed
5.10pm: The motion to condemn the shooting down of MH17 is passed by unanimous voice vote.
 
To recap, the motion in Parliament today sought to:
 
- Urge for a comprehensive investigation by an independent body;
 
- Urge for comprehensive investigation to be carried out to bring those responsible to justice;
 
- Condemn the parties responsible for shooting down the plane;
 
- Record condolences and deepest sympathies for the family of victims; and
 
- Record its deepest regret and profound sadness over the unfortunate tragedy.
Parliament adjourns to an undetermined date.
 
'Nothing' in Donestk deal other than three outcomes

5.05pm: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says there is no “deal” involved in the agreement brokered with east Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai.

He was responding to a question by Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) who asked if the separatists had demanded anything in return from Malaysia.
He labelled Najib's success in negotiating with the separatists as a "diplomatic coup", and that it was done on the basis of securing the crash site.

"It was done in a smart way by the PM," he stresses.

"There is nothing in the deal. There was no other deals- the PM has told me. There were only the three agreements as we have outlined."

He also says that government will form a special investigative team consisting of police, the Department of Civil Aviation and other agencies to ensure investigations can start as soon as possible.

“If it is true that MH17 was shot down, Malaysia will pressure the parties responsible for this most despicable crime against humanity to be brought to face justice and punished severely,” he says.

He says negotiation with the separatists does not impair Malaysia’s resolve for justice if it is later established that the separatists were the ones who shot down the plane.

"We have no forgiveness for them, no matter who is responsible, if it is proven. We stick to our promise (to pursue justice)," he adds.

M'sia will seek justice on international level
4.50pm: Muhyiddin winds up the debates. He says that the government will seek justice on "an international level" for the MH17 tragedy. 
 
"Every effort will be taken to ensure those responsible are faced with justice, be it in domestic level or international," he says.
 
However, knowing that Malaysia has no jurisdiction to conduct investigations or arrests on other countries, Muhyiddin stresses that commitment and co-operation from other countries is imperative.
 
Malaysia will be using extra-territorial criminal application laws that it already has in order to take action against identified criminals in this tragedy.
 
These laws include the Penal Code and the Aviation Offences Act 1984.

He also reiterates that the route used by MH17 was approved as safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisaion (ICAO).

"Pilots are only allowed to divert with reason," he adds.
 
'PM a Germany, not a Brazil'
4.20pm: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Joseph Kurup asks the government to call for a special international sitting with all countries affected by the MH17 tragedy to state a declaration to condemn the attack.
 
He proposes that it be called the "Kuala Lumpur Civil Air Safety Declaration". 
 
Kurup also pours praises on Najib for securing a deal with the separatists.
 
"The PM is definitely not a Brazil, but a Germany."

He was referring to the recent FIFA World Cup winners Germany as opposed to hosts Brazil.
 
'We don't want anyone to die in sin'

4.00pm: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will wrap up the debates on behalf of the government before the motion can be passed. He is expected to speak at 4.30pm.

The deputy speaker urges the remaining six MPs to finish their debates as swiftly as possible so that Muhyiddin can start his speech on time.

3.50pm: Rantau Panjang MP Siti Zailah Yusof urges the government to heed calls not to serve alcohol on board Malaysia Airlines' flights.
She also raises the issue of flight attendants' uniform, which do not adhere to Muslim dress code.

"We don't want (anyone) to die in sin. (The government) should pay attention to the basics of Islamic teachings.

"Even if we die in the line of duty, we must die in a state of worship to Allah. 

"We may have advanced technolgies but this matter should not be viewed lightly. We cannot stop Allah's might."

This comes soon after Kedah PAS Youth information chief Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman is slammed for associating MAS policies on alcohol and crew uniform to the tragedy.

Not afraid of Putin, Ukraine or separatists

3.40pm: It happens to be Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's birthday today. He turns 61.
 
BN's Tanjung Manis MP Norah Abdul Rahman points it out while wishing him when debating the MH17 motion. 
 
Najib is now back in the House listening to the debates in the.

He has so far received support from both sides of the political divide for negotiating with Ukranian separatists to secure the remains of the MH17 victims and the flight data recorders.

3.25pm: Pengerang MP Azalina Othman says that the BN Backbenchers' Council (BNBBC) wants to know who will be responsible for compensation for the victims' families.

"This is so we don't just let them off the hook. We aren't afraid of Putin, the separatists or Ukraine, but we are afraid of the rakyat."

She also condemns the downing of the commercial flight by missile as a "barbaric mass murder".

"A commercial flight has become victim of (superpower) war. We must be fierce in this issue."
 
USA just 'going with the flow'
3.20pm: Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim is cut off by deputy speaker Ismail Mohamed Said when he interjects during fellow DAP colleague Teresa Kok's turn to debate.
 
Sim tried to raise concerns that a possible "reshuffling" in MAS following the tragedy will allow "crony capitalists" to benefit.
 
However, Ismail quickly turns down Sim's arguments, insisting that he sticks to the issue of debating MH17 and not stray.
 
"I want Seputeh (Kok) to continue with the speech. It's enough Bukit Mertajam (Sim)," Ismail says.
 
Kok says that she hopes the PM would take heed of what Sim "was trying to raise".

3.10pm: Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin says that the US would not have reacted to the MH17 tragedy in the same vein if the flight that was shot down was one of their airlines.
"Because it is a MAS flight, they are just following with the flow."

He, however, does not specify how "different" the reaction would be.
 
Meanwhile, Najib has returned to Parliament for the evening session.

M'sia can't be pawn in superpower conflict

3pm: Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa says Malaysia should not allow itself to become a "pawn" for international superpowers in their own conflict.
 
"This tragedy is linked to international politics, especially between US and Russia.
 
"All other countries are merely proxies for these superpowers...
 
"At this moment the whole world seems to want to point fingers at Russia... But we must be consistent not to be used in this matter."

Meanwhile Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin interjects Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar to propose that both sides of the house demand that an independent body investigate the incident.
 
2.35pm: Debates resume after lunch with Keningau MP Joseph Pairin Kitingan urging the United Nations (UN) to not only condemn the act of downing the plane, but also to take immediate action.

He also calls on the UN and Europeam community to be frank about the Ukraine crisis, and for international aviation bodies to update their risk assessments of routes above conflict zones.

"International aviation bodies cannot just abdicate responsibility in evaluating the risks of flying above conflict zones," he says, adding that MAS is not at fault.

Call to ratify International Criminal Court

1pm: Parliament now adjourns for lunch and will resume at 2.30pm.
Later, the government will wrap up by answering questions raised by MPs, who have debated the motion.

Till now, the list of debaters is only half exhausted. After the break, each MP will be given 10 minutes each to debate.

12.55pm: DAP MPs Charles Santiago and M Kulasegaran raise the issue of Malaysia ratifying the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Malaysia is not a member state of the ICC, and Kulasegaran asks if Malaysia has missed an opportunity to bring the MH17 issue to the ICC.

The issue of ICC ratification was brought up by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Tempers flare of 'fake' Rafizi tweet

12.20pm: Pandemonium erupts in the House after Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Wee Ka Siong accuses PKR's Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli of posting a tweet warning the government "not to use people's money to bribe separatists".
Rafizi and Pakatan Rakyat MPs are enraged by the accusation.

Rafizi says the tweet is fake and he planned to lodge a police report on the matter.

Wee refuses to apologise and declines to retract his accusation, escalating the tension.

In his speech, Wee continuously takes jibes at opposition members for "trying to find fault" with MAS and the government's conduct in light of the tragedy.
He criticises Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik for "not advising his partner", referring to a tweet by Ng's wife Yuki Tan criticising Malaysia on the MH17 incident.

Wee also trains his guns on DAP's Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming for questioning the air route.

Infuriated, Pakatan members press deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee to demand the MCA deputy president retracts the remark.

However, Ronald refuses to order Wee to retract the remark, saying Rafizi's explanation has already been recorded.

Mahfuz: Don't fly over conflict zones

12.05pm: Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar (PAS) says the government must not rely on other airlines and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in allowing MAS and AirAsia to use the airspace over strife-torn countries like Syria.
Mahfuz says a re-evaluation is important to ensure that an incident like MH17 does not recur.

"Do we need to rely on the ICAO to determine whether the route is safe or not although we know that the area is a conflict zone?

"A re-evaluation must be done. Wisma Putra or the embassy must give a full report on whether the particular airspace is safe or not.

"For example, the KL-London route sees flights going over Syria. I hope the government can look into the matter to ensure the safety of our planes."

'Postpone payment for Russian jets'

11.35am: Lim also urges the government to use whatever influence it has to place the necessary pressure in getting to the truth of what had happened to MH17.
                      
Although Malaysia's economic influence is not as significant compared to the US and other European countries, he says the country still has relevant economic relations with Russia.

"Malaysia bought 18 Sukhoi Su-30MKM fighter jets worth USD900 million in August 2003.

"If Malaysia has not settled the full payment for these jets, we should postpone the payment, if necessary.

"Malaysia should also be ready to cancel the second Angkasawan programme which was part of the fighter jets purchase if we think that Russia will not give its full cooperation to the international as well as Malaysian community.

"Also, as proposed by the international community, we should consider joining the boycott against Russia."

12pm: PAS' Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar stands up to express his condolences and sympathy on the tragedy on behalf of PAS, saying that Malaysia needs to ensure that aviation tragedies do not become a "series" in the country.
"We need to identify and rectify our weakness so that these things do not repeat."

The PAS information chief says that MH17 has become a victim of superpowers "exercising their influence and powers."

However, he spends more time talking about the MH370 flight, asking the government to clarify the status of investigation as there is a need to know what actually happened to the plane.

Guan Eng: 'Quiet diplomacy' the right approach

11.30am: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is the Bagan MP, also agrees that "quiet diplomacy" was the right approach to ensure the remains and the black boxes can be secured.

"These might have breached diplomatic protocol, but it is something that is well worth it.

"The Ukraine government clearly has no effective control over the region, and PM has taken the risk to negotiate with someone who has not been recognised at all. The prime minister has our full support in this matter."

Lim also says that he will stick to flying MAS despite the tragedy.
"Showing solidarity for MAS in these trying times is not limited to giving speech and words of encouragement alone.

"We would like stress here that we will continue flying with MAS, if time allows it."

He also describes those who shot down the plane as "animals in human masks."

Lim also seems to be leaning towards the accusation that the separatists shot down the plane en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

"Why would Ukraine military shoot down the plane when they know that the separatists do not have fighter jets?

"That leaves us with one scenario- that the separatists were somehow responsible for this act."

He says that Malaysia has to emulate the Brazilian and German governments which sent back its US ambassadors following revelations that the US spied on the two countries.

"We must not hesitate to call the Russia and Ukraine ambassadors to Wisma Putra. And while we are at it, we could also call the US ambassador to express our dissatisfaction with what is happening in Gaza."

Lim also stresses on the importance of confirming the allegation that Russia had supplied heavy weapons and artillery to the East Ukrainian separatists.

"We must confirm whether Russia sent its troops or its agents to help the separatists. We must also confirm whether Russia was responsible in helping them launch the missile."

Anwar: Controversial but the right approach

11am: Anwar throws his weight behind Najib, agreeing that negotiating with the separatists was necessary.

His show of support for the prime minister is lauded by other MPs, who tap on their tables.

He says although Najib's action in contacting the separatist leader (Alexander Borodai) courted controversy, he supports the prime minister’s decision since "a responsible leader must safeguard the rakyat’s interests first".

"To get things done, there is no easy way out, so we have to negotiate with the separatists who are controlling the region."

Anwar also urges the government not to be afraid in dealing with superpowers.

"In facing this problem, I urge the government to ensure that the superpowers do not protect the real criminals."

"I also express my condolences to the PM as he has also lost his step-grandmother in the incident."

Anwar also asks if the issue of Gaza can be incorporated as an "integral" part of the debate today.

He says that Gaza is being "colonialised" by Israel.

10.50am: Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim moves that the House will not adjourn until the PM's motion is fully debated and passed.

This was after Natural Resources and Environment Minister G Palanivel seconded Najib's motion.

The motion will go to debate with 12 BN MPs selected to debate it, and 10 Pakatan MPs.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will be the first to debate the motion.

Najib: We demand answers

10.45am: Najib says the Netherlands suffered a "huge" loss when the ratio of 192 of their citizens who died is compared with their population.

"To the families of the victims, I say worry not, because we will not stop seeking the truth."

He also says that "geopolitical conflicts" benefit nobody. "People only suffer further from this.”

Shortly after that, Najib ends his full motion speech.

10.40am: In a rare show of bi-partisanship, Najib expresses his thanks to both opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang for describing the incident as a "mass murder".

He also says that a "ceasefire" must be implemented at the conflict zone immediately.

10.37am: Najib urges for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.

"Although a lot of effort has been made, many things are still left to be done.

"We will not stop mid-way. As such, investigation must be made by an independent body to determine the cause (of the incident).

"We demand for an immediate answer, whether the plane was shot by a missile and who was responsible for it? What were the motives and who supplied the weapon?

"Was the plane shot intentionally or was it a mistake? All these need concrete and clear evidence."

'I made a promise and so I took the risk'

10.35am: Najib explains that his decision to negotiate with Ukranian separatist leader Alexander Borodai, whose troops control the crash site, was a "risk" he had to take in order to secure the bodies of those who perished and to be able to find out what actually happened to MH17.

"I did this because I promised the families here that the victims can be buried before Syawal."

He adds that it would have beeen "extremely difficult" to make headway in the investigations without securing the black boxes.

10.30am: Najib says if the claims that the plane was shot down are true, it represented an "uncivilised and insolent" act by those responsible.

"But at the moment, we are not pointing fingers at anyone."

Najib says he was made to understand that the area where the incident occurred was controlled by the separatists.

Expressing his disappointment, he says: "I was told that they did not respect the (area of the incident) and did not follow international standards to ensure that the evidence do not get lost."

Najib is also angry with the delay in handling the tragedy which led to the failure in giving the deserved respect to the victims' remains.

10.25am: In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar requests Najib to also include the agenda to condemn the Israel-Gaza conflict, which is taking place right now and has been escalating over the past week.

She calls for Israel's attitude in its offensive against Gaza to be described as an act of a "terrorist state".

10.20am: Najib says the route taken by MH17 was certified safe by the Ukrainian authorities, and also by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

He adds that "several" other Asian airlines used the same route "hours" before the MH17 crash.

10.08am: Najib has started reading the motion calling on MPs from both sides of the divide to condemn the shooting down of the civilian aircraft and to demand for a thorough investigation.

10.06am: Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia tells all MPs to express their condolences to the families of the victims.

10.05am: Students from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) are handing out national flags and cheering the MPs arriving at Parliament. Some of the students are wearing black t-shirts with the words: "Justice 4MH17."

No drop in MAS ticket sales despite refund offer



Day 6 of the MH17 tragedy

Latest developments
  • OSCE: No evidence of missile strike found yet
     
  • Malaysian Parliament holds special session
     
  • Identification of bodies could take months
     
  • Only 200 bodies found, contrary to reports
     
  • Black boxes to be handed to UK for analysis

Follow us as we bring the latest updates and coverage on Flight MH17:

Villagers hold memorial service for MH17 dead

4.36pm: The villagers in Donetsk, both young and old, gather for a memorial service for those who perished on board MH17.

BBC News reports that the local Eastern Orthodox Christian community also grieved at the tragedy and is left traumatised after bits of a plane and bodies suddenly fell from the sky last week.

"We want to testify to the world  that we are not terrorists," a bearded priest in black and white robe is heard saying telling BBCreporter Natalia Antelava in the video.

"We symphathise with the whole world over what happened here. It was terrible to see pieces of aeroplane dropping on our heads. And it was horrible when dead bodies fell on people."

An elderly lady in a head scarf is seen holding a dozen pink and red roses and laments: "I pity you. I pity me, that's why I am crying.

"Why kill peaceful people? It's always peaceful people who are killed," she says.

Bodies still subject to 'heat and animals'

4pm: Australian PM Tony Abbott expresses “serious concern” over recovery of bodies from the crash site, which he says has been handled unprofessionally to date.

So far, he says knew only of two Australian bodies sent to Netherlands this afternoon.

“It is possible that some bodies are still out there in the European summer, subject to the ravages of heat and animals, ” he tells reporters in Canberra.

Meanwhile, BBC News reports that about 50 coffins were laid out at the airport on Wednesday morning in preparation for the first flight to Amsterdam, where a simple tribute was held for the deceased.

3.50pm: Malaysia Airlines earned kudos from Wall Street Journal(WSJ) for its "assured and rapid response" to MH17 tragedy versus its response to the MH370 crisis, which it says augurs well for the troubled company's branding.
"The airline's public communications during the current crisis have been accurate and centralised, compared with the confusion and misinformation that prevailed in March,"WSJ reports.

This reflected in steady business as MAS reportedly said it hasn't seen a surge in ticket cancellations or requests for refunds after MH17 crashed despite its offer for full refunds since Saturday.      

WSJ survey indicated that many frequent flyers would have no qualms getting on the next MAS flight, especially if the price is right.

Dutch royal family, PM to greet plane ferrying remains

3.10pm: BBC reports that the first bodies are expected to arrive at Eindhoven in the Netherlands about 2pm local time (8pm in Malaysia).

Members of the Dutch royal family and Prime Minister Mark Rutte are to meet the plane.

3pm: Former United States president Bill Clinton calls for strength following the downing of MH17, declaring that those responsible, or who had provided the means to do it, sided with a brutal vision of the world, AFP reports.

Speaking at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia, Clinton also pays tribute to six AIDS campaigners, including prominent Dutch researcher, Joep Lange, who were on board the ill-fated flight.

He says the argument that the loss of lives may have been unintended is irrelevant.

Malaysian team: No parts of plane missing

2:20pm: According to The Star Online, Malaysia’s three-man team inspecting the crash site observed that part of the Boeing jetliner’s massive wings had melted as a result of intense heat.
It quotes Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) spokesperson for the Special Monitoring mission to Ukraine, Michael Bociurkiw, as saying the wings melted as they were made of aluminium.

Bociurkiw reportedly tells reporters in Donetsk that the team also did not notice any major parts of the plane missing from the crash site.

He says the OSCE was yet to find any evidence of a missile strike at the site.

However, he adds, the team did notice smaller body parts which had yet to be removed.

With MH17, MH370 not forgotten

1.45pm: While the head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (right), has been called away to head Australia’s MH17 recovery operations in Ukraine, this does not mean the search for missing Flight MH370 is getting any less attention.

"Australia owes it to the families of all of those on board MH370, the travelling public and indeed the wider world to solve this mystery.

“Deputy coordinator Judith Zielke will oversee the operations of the JACC,"  Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss says in a press statement.

The Beijing-bound MAS jetliner went missing on March 8 and is believed to be lying in the south Indian Ocean, off Perth.

A new search phase to probe the ocean floor is likely to start in early September and take up to 12 months to complete, Truss says

1.30pm: Australian PM Tony Abbott adds an online "condolence book" to his official website for those who wish to send their sympathies to the next-of-kin of Australians who perished on Flight MH17.

"We all mourn the tragic loss of Flight MH17 - an online condolence book is available here," Abbot tweets.

Those who wish the PM to attend or send a message of condolence for memorial services to be held in recognition of those who lost their lives in the MH17 tragedy can also make the request via a special email,condolencerequest@pm.gov.au.

Malaysian tourism to be affected?

1.14pm: The twin airline disasters may dampen Malaysia's hopes of drawing in a record number of tourists this year under the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign, reports AFP.

AFP quotes National Taiwan University researcher Bridget Welsh as saying that although the MH17 tragedy may not raise as many questions about Malaysia's competency and governance as MH370 did, it would still impact travel plans.

"This said, Malaysia Airlines and travel to Malaysia will be affected outside of Malaysia. The effects will not be as serious as MH370 but overall negative," Welsh said.

The article also quotes a China travel agent saying that MH17 had led to a "large number" of cancellations of travel to Malaysia "because a lot of tourists no longer trust MAS safety".

1pm: Athletes at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, observed a minute of silence during the flag-raising ceremony to welcome the Malaysian contingent yesterday.

“Amidst a lively performance by the National Youth Theatre dancers to greet the arrival of guests from Cyprus, Mozambique, Niue and Malaysia – the mood turned sombre when the announcement was made to observe a minute’s silence in remembrance of the victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17,” The Star reported on the event.

The national flag was flown at half mast as Negaraku was sung.

Najib turns 61

12.45pm: As Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak attends the special parliamentary session on MH17, well-wishers are pouring in to greet him on his birthday.

“I want to wish selamat hari jadi (happy birthday) to Prime Minister Najib Razak. Thank you for spending it on the MH17 tragedy, for the nation. Respect, sir,” tweets national badminton player Lee Chong Wei.

Today is Najib’s 61st birthday.

Read the live updates on the Parliament proceedings here.

10.50am: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin joins the chorus of those giving premier Najib Abdul Razak a pat in the back for securing Flight MH17 black boxes and crash victims’ remains in a deal made directly with eastern Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Borodai.
"We are grateful for the initiative of PM Najib Abdul Razak (left), as the head of government in engaging directly with Alexander Borodai.

"The effort has paid off and all we want now is for the bodies of the victims to be returned home with dignity to enable us to handle properly according to their respective faiths," Muhyiddin is reported saying by The Star.

He also expects Malaysians to have only a moderate Hari Raya celebration this year, as a mark of respect for the victims.

Russia to 'influence' separatists to cooperate

10.45am: Russian president Vladimir Putin pledges to wield his influence over the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to cooperate in the MH17 probe, in what Reuters reports as a rare acknowledgment from the superpower that it has such an influence.

“We are being called on to use our influence with the separatists in southeastern Ukraine. We of course will do everything in our power but that is not nearly enough…

“Ultimately, there is a need to call on the authorities in Kiev to respect basic norms of decency, and at least for a short time implement a ceasefire,” Putin is quoted saying, urging Western governments to use their influence on Kiev as well.

Parliament convenes special session

10.07am: Parliament convenes a special sitting on the MH17 tragedy. Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, in representing all the parliamentarians, starts by expressing his condolences to the families of the crash victims.

All MPs rise as a prayer is read out.

Read the live updates from the proceeding here.

MH17 deal was Najib's 'project'

9.50am: The negotiations that led to MH17’s black boxes and the remains of the passengers and crew being handed over had been “the prime minister’s project” known only by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his closest confidants, says Reuters.
According to the report, Najib was working through intermediaries to initiate contact the leader of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk Alexander Borodai, and had at least one phone conversation with him via a translator.

“He (Najib) was the main player and he kept this within a very, very, very tight circle. Even some of his closest advisers were not part of this circle, and were surprised by this deal,” an unnamed source is quoted saying.

The report said in return for Malaysia’s demands, separatist leaders wanted a signed document acknowledging that the black box had not been tampered with.

Caribbean company files for MH17, MH370 trademark

8.50am: A company in Belize has filed trademark applications for the terms ‘MH17' and ‘MH370', technology news website Digital News Asia (DNA) reports.

It says Seyefull Investments Limited submitted the application on MH17 the very day the flight was shot down on July 17, while the application for MH370 was filed on May 2.
“The scope of usages listed within both applications is wide ranging: From conferences, exhibitions and competitions; to education and instruction, and entertainment services,” the report says, citing publically-available documents.

If approved, it will allow the company to bar people for using the term for these purposes, or seek payment from them for using the term.

The report also quotes an unnamed trademark industry observer saying such applications of words related to current affairs are “fairly common, but also fairly pointless” because it usually gets rejected, leads to bad public relations.

However, Malaysian Airlines appeared to have filed trademark applications for MH370 and MH17 as well, both in July and later than the Seyefull application.

“I do not know why (Malaysia Airlines) filed, but it may have been alerted by the company's application or is trying to block others from registering the mark,” intellectual property lawyer Foong Cheng Leong is quoted saying.

Only 200 bodies found so far

8.25am: Dutch forensic officials say only 200 bodies out of 298 MH17 victims have been found so far, not some 280 as previously reported.
Speaking in the Ukrainian government-held city of Kharkiv, forensics expert Jan Tuinder says this is based on the count by a person who was present when the refrigerated train transporting the bodies was being loaded.

He tells the BBC the number, however, could increase when his team goes through the bodies.

“We will not leave until (all) remains have left this country so we will have to go on and bargain again with the people over there,” the BBC quotes him as saying.

The report also says the bodies will be flown from Kharkiv to Eindhoven, the Netherlands today (not Amsterdam, as previously reported), and then taken to a facility in Hilversum for identification – which could take several months to complete.

Meanwhile, the Interpol will carry out preliminary examinations on the bodies first before the bodies leave Kharkiv.

8am: The Dutch-led international investigation team decides to allow the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) to perform forensic analysis of MH17’s black boxes.
“It is normal procedure for black boxes to be sent for analysis to the nearest laboratory authorised by the International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO).

“The black boxes will therefore be flown to Farnborough, UK, accompanied by Malaysian experts and other members of the international investigation team,” says Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bernama quotes his deputy, Aziz Kaprawi, as saying the black boxes must be opened and analysed immediately in line with ICAO’s regulations.

"There are several labs around the world which can analyse black box data and I think the nearest one is in the United Kingdom,” he says in the report yesterday, adding that bringing it back to Malaysia would be in contravention to the regulations.

According to the BBC, there are only two countries in Europe that are equipped to handled the black boxes: the UK, and France.

Background:
  • Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 with 298 people on board crashed in eastern Ukraine at around 10.15pm on July 17 (Malaysian time), near the Ukraine-Russia border. The Boeing 777-200 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and was due to arrive at 6am the next day.
         
  • A proxy war is taking place in the area pitting the Western-backed Ukraine government against Ukrainian separatists supported by Russia. It is said to be the worst crisis between the West and the former Soviet republic since the Cold War.     
  • US says it is convinced the aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from territory controlled by Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels.
         
  • Russian president Vladimir Putin has blamed the tragedy on the Ukraine government for prolonging the war against the separatists.
         
  • Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak says Malaysia will not assign blame until there is concrete evidence but wants "swift justice" against the perpetrators.