MH17 disaster wipes out entire Malaysian family of six

An entire family of six were returning home to Malaysia
Ukraine: An entire family of six were returning home to Malaysia after three years in Kazakhstan and the head of the family, Tambi Jiee, 49, was keen to celebrate Hari Raya, the end of the Muslim fasting month, at home before reporting for work in a new posting.
His wife, Ariza Ghazalee, 47, was an avid social media user, the Star newspaper said. Before boarding the plane, she uploaded photos of the family's packed bags on the Internet.
Ariza's mother, Jamillah Noriah Abg Anuar, 72, told reporters she had spoken to the family just hours earlier.
"They called me from Amsterdam. Before entering the plane, they called. Nothing strange. It was a normal conversation."
A doll lies at the crash site of a Malaysia Airlines jet near the village
of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday. (Photo: AP)
Passenger Md Ali Md Salim, 30, posted a 15-second video prior to take-off showing people packing bags into overhead compartments over an announcement telling passengers to switch their phones off.
The caption read: "Wish me luck, in the name of God", with a hashtag in Malaysian saying "My heart feels nervous".
"We always kept in touch on Facebook and the last time, he said he wanted to come home this year to spend Hari Raya with his family," a friend, Mohd Zaem Nordin, told the Bernama news agency.
Salim was pursuing a psychology doctorate in the University of Amsterdam and was planning to finish next year, said Zaem. "I did not know that his wish would not be fulfilled and that this video is his last".
The MH17 tragedy came just as many were beginning to get over what happened in March.
"For something like this to happen, just four months after MH370, just when we were beginning to get on with life, it is just very difficult to take," one airline executive told Reuters at Kuala Lumpur airport, sobbing as he spoke.
"You can't imagine how draining it is, how emotional it is. Everyone can't believe this is happening again, we are going through all of the emotions once again."
Malaysia Airlines said it was waiving fees for changing or cancelling tickets for a few days "in light of the MH17 incident".
"Passengers who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans can obtain a refund, including for non-refundable tickets," it said.
The waivers only apply until Thursday for travel until the end of the year.
Malaysia PM's step-grandmother was on MH17
Malaysia's Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein, center, accompanied
by newly appointed Transport Minister Liow Tong Lai, center right, speak
to the media at a hotel following the crash of Malaysia Airlines, MH17
in Sepang, Malaysia, on Saturday. (Photo: AP)
Prime Minister Najib Razak's step-grandmother was on board the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that crashed in violence-wracked Ukraine, the country's defence minister confirmed Saturday.
Hishammuddin Hussein, a cousin of Najib's, said 83-year-old Sri Siti Amirah was on the flight. Siti Amirah was also Hishammuddin's step-grandmother.
"My step-grandmother was in (the plane). I think we are angry but what can I do? Being angry won't help," he told reporters.
He also posted a photo of her in an Islamic headscarf with the message "Pls pray 4 her".
The Star newspaper had earlier reported that Siti Amirah had embarked alone in Amsterdam on Flight MH17 en route to the Indonesian city of Jogjakarta.
She was scheduled to transit at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The Boeing 777 passenger jet carrying 298 people came down in flames late Thursday in cornfields in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine, with US officials saying it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
Siti Amirah, a native of Indonesia, was headed there to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, Islam's biggest festival, at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Star report quoted a family spokeswoman as saying.
Malaysia and Indonesia are Muslim-majority countries.
"She was a very, very nice lady. A kind-hearted, beautiful woman. She was a homemaker who looked after my grandfather very well. We called her 'ibu' (mother)," the family spokeswoman told the newspaper.
She was once married to Mohammad Noah Omar, Najib's maternal grandfather, as his second wife.
Najib, 60, is the son of Malaysia's second prime minister Abdul Razak, while Hishammuddin is the son of the country's third premier Hussein Onn.
The mothers of Hishammuddin and Najib are siblings.
Xi calls for fair and objective probe into MH17 crash
China's President Xi Jinping is received by Brazil's
President Dilma Rousseff, silhouette, during a welcome
ceremony at the Planalto Presidential Palace,
in Brasilia, Brazil, on Thursday. (Photo: AP)
Expressing shock over the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board in eastern Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a fair and objective probe.
"I was shocked," Xi, who is on a visit to Argentina, said at a joint press conference with Argentine President Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner at Buenos Aires about the tragedy.
The ill-fated Boeing 777 Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Eastern Ukraine on Thursday.
All 298 people on board were killed in the crash.
Xi conveyed his deep condolences on the massive loss of lives and sincere sympathies with the families of the victims.
"I hope that a fair and objective probe will be carried out to establish the truth as early as possible," state-run Xinhua news agency today quoted him as saying.
All Chinese airlines have rerouted their flights over eastern Ukraine following the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane in the region.
China's civil aviation authority has ordered all Chinese aircraft flying over Ukraine to avoid airspace over that area.
Malaysia team in Kiev as anger mounts over MH17
A Malaysian team including two air accident investigators arrived in Kiev on Saturday and the transport minister was expected to follow as the Malaysian prime minister appealed for access to the MH17 crash site.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone late Friday to stress the need for an objective, unfettered probe into the crash that killed 298 people, amid concerns the site was vulnerable to tampering.
"I also told Putin that the site should not be tampered (with) before the team begins its investigation," he was quoted saying by national news agency Bernama.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 came down in a separatist-held region, with the United States saying it was shot down in a missile attack, a possible casualty of Ukraine's battle with pro-Russia rebels.
A 62-member Malaysian team arrived in Kiev on Saturday, a member of the delegation told AFP.
It was to include two accredited air crash investigators invited by Ukraine to help probe responsibility for the disaster.
Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai was due to leave for Kiev later Saturday, the Star daily said.
- Concerns over access -
Though it occurred in rebel territory, Ukraine's government has the authority to investigate the crash, under international conventions.
But concerns have emerged after international observers were blocked or given only partial access by armed rebels.
US President Barack Obama has said evidence indicates a missile was fired from the rebel-held zone.
The disaster has deeply shocked Malaysia, still grappling with the trauma of the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew aboard, including 38 Malaysians.
No trace of MH370 has been found, severely damaging Malaysia's image abroad and leaving furious passengers' relatives deeply anguished and demanding answers.
"Wrong target, who committed this atrocity?" leading Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia said of MH17 on its front page Saturday, echoing the tone of most leading newspapers and Malaysian social media chatter.
Forty-four Malaysians were on the flight.
- Anger mounts -
In an address to his nation late Friday, Najib demanded justice if it is determined that the plane was shot down, condemning what he called an "inhumane, uncivilised, violent and irresponsible act".
He said the Muslim-majority country would hold an emergency sitting of parliament -- expected Wednesday -- to vent Malaysian anger over the disaster, and that all flags in the country would be flown at half-mast.
"Of course there is anger. Why must this happen only to us (in) Malaysia? I really feel like beating that Russian, Vladimir Putin," said Mohamad Shidee Mohamad Ghazali, 28, a welder with the state utility company Tenaga Nasional.
Civil servant Nor Azizah Johar, 31, said her childhood friend Mohamad Ali Mohamad Salim was aboard the flight. They had planned to meet up during the coming Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday.
"I am shocked that such an incident can happen," she said.
"I leave it to Allah. What can we do? We are just pawns in this issue."
Kiev has accused pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces of committing a "terrorist act".
Stunned world leaders have urged a full investigation, which could further fan the flames of Russia's confrontation with Ukraine, the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, if pro-Russian rebels are found culpable.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans arrived in Kiev with a team of 15 investigators, the national ANP news agency reported. Nearly 200 Dutch nationals were on board the plane.
The Malaysian team also includes representatives from the air force, civil aviation authorities, and Malaysia Airlines.
The team would head to Kiev in hopes of eventually visiting the crash site.
"President Putin said he hoped the Ukraine president (Petro Poroshenko) would agree to a ceasefire to enable the entry of the investigation team into the site," Najib was quoted as saying.
( Source : dc )
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