MH17: MAS, MAB Given Until July 27 To File Defence Statement

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 13 – The High Court here today ordered Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS) and Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) to file their defence statement over a suit filed by the next of kin of six crew onboard the ill-fated MH17. Deputy Registrar Mohamad Shafiq Mohd Sazali gave the two companies until July 27 to do so.

He set the date in chambers when the case came up for mention in the presence of lawyers S. Malini, representing the plaintiffs, and Lai Wai Fong, for the two defendants. The next-of-kin of Shazana Mohamed Salleh, Hamfazlin Sham Mohamed Arifin, Sanjid Singh Sandhu, Mohd Ghafar Abu Bakar, Lee Hui Pin and Chong Yee Pheng filed the suit last June 2.

They are suing MAS and MAB for negligence and breach of contract over the loss of their loved ones during the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014. Lai told the media that Mohamad Shafiq also set Aug 29 for case management before judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng.

According to the statement of claims, the plaintiffs stated that MAS was negligent in executing Flight MH17 over an area known to be under armed conflict which posed risks of harm and death to those onboard. They claimed the aircraft was flying less than 1,000 feet below the mid-cruise height.

The plaintiffs also claimed that MAS had negligently dispatched and executed flight MH17 in the northern most part of the Ukraine Commercial Flight Corridor, did not have any risk management system and failed to take into account the instability of the flight.

They also claimed that MAS was in breach of contract for failing to ensure the safety, health and welfare of the flight crew, as well as failed to conduct adequate risk assessment training for personnel, flight crew and operational staff. The plaintiffs claimed that MAS and MAB were responsible for the death of the crew under the Carriage By Air Act 1974, the Montreal Convention 1999 and/or Civil Law Act and are seeking general damages for their pain and suffering.

They are seeking damages for traumatic psychiatric injury, nervous shock and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as aggravated and exemplary damages, interests, cost and other relief deemed fit by the court. Flight MH17, with 298 passengers and crew onboard, was enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed in eastern Ukraine near the Russia border on July 17, 2014. The aircraft was believed to have been shot down, but until today no one has claimed responsible for the act. — Bernama

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