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MH370: Family Files RM32 Million Suit Against MAS

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KUALA LUMPUR – Five in a family today filed a RM32 million suit against Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) and eight others over the death of their family member who was one of the passengers of the missing MAS Flight MH370.

The suit was filed by K.Sri Devi, 32, the widow of S. Puspanathan; her two sons aged two and four; and her parents-in-law, G. Subramaniam and A. Amirathan, both 62, though their lawyer, Shailender Bhar of Messrs Brijnandan Singh Bhar & Co. at the High Court Registrar Office here.

They named MAS, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB), Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and DCA as first to fourth defendants.

They also named Immigration Department director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat, Malaysian Immigration Department, former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud, RMAF and the Government of Malaysia as the fifth to ninth defendants.

In their statement of claims, the plaintiffs said Puspanathan was one of the 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with flight number MH370 which departed from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am and was expected to land in Beijing, China on March 8, 2014.

They claimed that at 1.21 am on that fateful date, Flight MH370 disappeared from the DCA’s radar but appeared on the RMAF radar as flying over several states in the peninsula, including Kelantan, Perak and Penang, but could not be detected by MAS.

At 2.03 am, MAS had detected the flight in Cambodian’s air space, but they claimed that DCA had failed to confirmed the location.

The plaintiffs said the investigation report had conclusively found that there were weaknesses, including the failure of MAS and its staff to replace and install the Solid State Flight Data Recorder (SSFDR) attached to the Underwater Locator Beacons (ULB).

They said the SSFDR ULB battery expired in December 2012 and was not replaced by MAS, causing efforts to locate the missing flight to be almost impossible to be done.

The plaintiffs said MAS had failed and was negligent in taking appropriate measure to ensure that the deceased would land in Beijing as scheduled and in identifying the accurate location of the flight.

They claimed that MAS had also failed in informing the family about the disappearance of the flight as they had learnt about the mishap through the media.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the DCA director-general had failed in providing a safe, efficient and proper arrangement for the air traffic control, aviation information service and warning, as well as in locating the aircraft using the military radar soon after they lost contact.

They claimed that the Immigration Department and its director-general were negligent when they allowed two Iranian passengers to board the aircraft using fake and stolen passports, besides claiming that the RMAF had also failed to locate the flight after it disappeared from the military radar.

For that, the plaintiffs seek damages amounting to more than RM32 million, including cost and other relief deemed fit by the court.

On Jan 29 last year, DCA director-general declared the disappearance of Flight MH370 as an accident and that all passengers and crew members were presumed to have lost their lives. – BERNAMA

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