KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 – Malaysian former minister and Rompin Member of Parliament Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Semenyih, was laid to rest at the National Mosque Mausoleum yesterday evening. Jamaluddin, along with Azlin Alias, Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, and four others were on the ill-fated helicopter returning from the wedding reception of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s daughter in Pekan, Pahang, on Saturday.

 “We have lost two figures who had made great contributions to the government, party and country in this tragedy,” Mr Najib said, referring to Jamaluddin and Azlin after news of the helicopter crash broke on Saturday. Mr Najib, who attended Jamaluddin’s burial yesterday, earlier spent about 40 minutes visiting his family at his residence in The Mines, Seri Kembangan, Selangor. Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who also paid a visit to The Mines yesterday, told reporters that Jamaluddin’s death was a big loss to both his family and the country.

He said he had known Jamaluddin for a long time, including when the latter had served as a Cabinet member under his tenure. Citing Jamaluddin’s previous appointment as Malaysian Ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said he was efficient in diplomatic matters and had helped enhance US-Malaysia relations. The US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur offered its condolences to the family and friends of Jamaluddin, paying tribute on its Facebook page with a photo showing the US flag flying at half-mast yesterday at its premises.

“The strengthening of our bilateral relationship owes much to his creativity, energy and vision. His commitment and dedication to the partnership will be sorely missed,” the post said. Mr Najib also yesterday attended the funeral prayers of Azlin, who was his Principal Private Secretary. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said she certainly felt sad with the death of two people whom she knew quite well through her work. “Azlin was well known to be serious-looking but a very approachable person. We from the Prime Minister’s Department will surely miss the two of them in our post-Cabinet meetings,” she said.

The four other victims of the crash were American pilot Captain Clifford William Fournier, operation assistant Aidana Baizieva, Jamaluddin’s bodyguard Razakan Seran and businessman Tan Huat Seang. Tan was said to be cremated at the Nilai Memorial Park, while Razakan’s body was laid to rest in Sabah yesterday afternoon. Earlier, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said investigators will probe the incident from all possible angles including foul play and negligence. “Investigations commenced (on Saturday) itself and, for now, the investigation papers have been opened under the category of sudden death,” he said.

After the helicopter’s black box was discovered yesterday, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said he hoped it would shed light on the cause of the tragedy, adding that it will be sent to the Air Accident Investigation Bureau in Farnborough in the United Kingdom for thorough analysis. “We also checked whether there was a Mayday call or distress call, but we did not find any,” he said. The aircraft’s approved flight path covers a wide range of areas. The plane would be 25 years as of April, with the last recorded inspection made on Jan 29 and the flight test conducted on Feb 9.

Mr Liow added that Fournier, the pilot of the AS3655N2 Dauphin (9M-1GB) helicopter, has held a valid licence rated for that type of aircraft since 2012 and has totalled nearly 13 years of flying experience. While investigations are ongoing, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged everyone not to make speculations, following claims started by online media that there was a possibility the helicopter was sabotaged. “Do not engage in speculation, we must show respect to the families of victims,” he said. AGENCIES

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