KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government will do its best to ensure Malaysia’s investigators can work smoothly at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine, which is controlled by separatists. This, the Prime Minister said, included using its diplomatic channels. “We had asked those involved to ensure the safety of our rescue team throughout the operation. “Secondly, we asked them not to disturb and tamper with any evidence so that the investigation can be done transparently and effectively. “Thirdly, if it is true that the plane was shot down, we demand that those responsible be brought to face justice,” he said in a special address on television.

Najib revealed he had conveyed all three demands to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and has also asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for co-operation to ensure that all will go well. Earlier, he announced he would convene an emergency Parliament sitting to table a motion condemning the suspected shooting of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight. Najib also said that the country’s flag would be flown at half-mast until Monday, adding that he had informed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the matter. He said while the plane was believed to have been shot down, the government was not pointing fingers at anyone until “irrefutable proof” could be obtained.

Najib then called on Muslims in Malaysia to perform special prayers or ‘solat hajat’ so that the country would always be safe from disasters and threats which could bring chaos to the country. He also called on Malaysians of other faiths to do the same and pray for the country. He then condemned the “heartless, uncivilised, violent and irresponsible action”. “I would like to express deep sadness at the tragedy, as well as condolences and sympathies to the family members of the passengers and crew”. Najib also expressed hope that they will be strong during this difficult time. MH17 went down in eastern Ukraine while on the way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board died.

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