PUTRAJAYA, Oct 27 – Malaysian Civil Aviation Department (DCA) director-general and the Malaysian government have been reinstated as defendants in the lawsuit filed by the family of three passengers who were on board Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 when it vanished two years ago.
This follows a decision by a Court of Appeal three-man panel today led by Justice Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh to allow the appeal brought by the next of kin of the three passengers to restore its civil suit against the DCA and the government. However, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief is excluded as a defendant in the lawsuit as the court dismissed the family’s appeal for reinstatement of the lawsuit against the Air Force.
Two teenage sons of a couple, Tan Ah Meng, 46, and his wife Chuang Hsiu Ling@Cindy Chuang, 45, and Hsiu Ling’s mother had appealed against the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision to allow the government agencies’ application to strike out the lawsuit. The couple and their eldest son Tan Wei Chew, 19, were among 239 passengers and crew on board Fight MH370 when the aircraft disappeared while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Tan Wei Hong, 16, and Tan Wei Jie, 14, and the mother of Hsiu Ling, Chuang Hung Chien, 76, a Taiwanese citizen, sued Malaysian Airline System Berhad, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), the DCA, RMAF and government of Malaysia over the loss of the couple and their son. MAB, however, succeeded in its appeal at the Court of Appeal on Oct 7, this year to be removed as a defendant.
Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, representing the family, argued in the appeal proceedings today that the DCA was responsible for tracking the aircraft in Malaysian airspace and losing track of a flight could lead to the loss of an aircraft. She said it was impossible to know at this stage if the DCA had complied with the regulations, adding that there were numerous issues to be tried at the High Court.
Senior federal counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching, appearing for the government agencies, submitted that the High Court was right to strike out the lawsuit against DCA, RMAF and the government because the family’s statement of claim did not disclose the cause of action against them. She said the facts pleaded in the statement of claim did not show that the DCA and RMAF owed duty of care to the family. — Bernama