KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — The family of one victim aboard the still-missing Flight MH370 will sue Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Putrajaya, among other local authorities, for negligence and breach of contract at a High Court here tomorrow.
In a statement today, lawyer Gary Edward Chong said he and Datuk S. Arunan of Messrs Rusmah Arunan & Associates have been instructed by the next-of-kin of passenger Jee Jing Hiang to file the case at the court registry at 9am tomorrow.
The suit will cite national carrier MAS for breach of contract and negligence and the remaining defendants — the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Immigration Department, Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Malaysian government — for negligence through “vicarious liability”.
The suit is believed to be the first to be filed so far in Malaysia over the mysterious MH370 incident, which the authorities are still investigating.
The first of the expected torrent of lawsuits over the tragedy started taking shape in the United States by Chicago-based law firm Ribbeck Law in March, just a few weeks after the Boeing 777 jetliner went missing.
At that time, many relatives of the plane’s Malaysian victims considered the move premature, saying they wanted to allow investigators more time to search for the missing plane and that without hard evidence of a crash, they would not mount a lawsuit.
But although there remains no sign of any wreckage from MH370 till today, Chong pointed out that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had already concluded on March 24 that MH370 had “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.
Najib’s declaration, the lawyer said, is a “strong conclusion and indication” of the aircraft’s fate.
Since then, however, many questions and theories have remained unanswered.
“This is further worsened and compounded by contradicting, differing and unsubstantiated statements made by so many parties.
“This has caused nothing, but anguish, doubts and misery to them (the families),” he said.
The lawyer said that several conversations with various industry experts have indicated that his clients, who are now caring for Jee’s two under-aged children, have sufficient grounds to establish their case against the named parties.
“Our clients are after the truth. We have confidence in our judiciary system that this suit will be heard and dealt with fairly,” Chong said.
Nearly nine months have passed since MH370’s mysterious disappearance and still there has been no sign of the jumbo passenger jet.
Searchers have been relying on the flight’s radar tracks and cryptic electronic conversations between the aircraft and satellite communications firms, which have indicated that MH370 mysteriously diverted off its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing towards the southern Indian Ocean, an area more than a thousand miles southwest of the coast of Perth in Australia.
But adding to the already arduous search is the lack of a single shred of physical evidence to prove the Boeing 777 jetliner had indeed downed in that particular part of the world shortly after it left Malaysian shores in the early morning of March 8.