News / Asia

Malaysian PM Demands Swift Justice if Plane Was Shot Down

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, walks away after a media conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, July 18, 2014.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, walks away after a media conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, July 18, 2014.
Reuters

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak demanded swift justice for those responsible if a Malaysian airliner that came down in Ukraine was found to have been shot down.

Najib, reading out a statement at a news conference on Friday, said Malaysia had not been able to verify what caused the Boeing 777-200 to crash while on a flight from Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, but it had not made a distress call.

But he said he had agreed in talks with U.S. President Barack Obama that investigators must get full access to the site of the crash.

“The Ukrainian authorities believe that the plane was shot down,” Najib said in the statement. “At this stage, however, Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy. But we must, and we will, find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned.”

“If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice,” he said.

Ukraine accused “terrorists” - militants fighting to unite eastern Ukraine with Russia - of shooting down the plane. The rebels denied responsibility.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the downing of the airliner was apparently was “not an accident” and that it was “blown out of the sky”.

Najib said also that Malaysia was sending a special flight to Kyiv with a disaster assistance and rescue team.

“An international team must have full access to the crash site and no one should interfere with the area, or move any debris, including the black box,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines said earlier air traffic controllers lost contact with Flight MH-17 as it flew over eastern Ukraine toward the Russian border with 280 passengers and 15 crew aboard. Flight tracking data indicated it was at its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) when it disappeared.

That would be beyond the range of smaller rockets used by the rebels to bring down helicopters and other low-flying Ukrainian military aircraft - but not of Soviet-era SA-11 ground-to-air missiles which a Ukrainian official accused Russia of supplying to the rebels.

The loss of MH-17 is the second disaster for Malaysia Airlines this year, following the mysterious loss of Flight MH-370. It disappeared in March with 239 passengers and crew on board on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

“This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia,” Najib said.

Relatives of passengers aboard the airliner gathered at the Kuala Lumpur airport early on Friday, demanding information, in particular confirmation of those on board.

“We need to know the list. The list. That is all,” one man told reporters, referring the flight's passenger list.   

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs