PUTRAJAYA, Aug 20 — The government has called for a moment of silence on Friday when the remains of 20 passengers on board the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrive home.
“We ask the nation to stand together, be it in schools, or in shopping centres... even cars should stop during the moment of silence,” Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said at a press conference today.
The Malaysian jetliner was shot out of the sky over Crimean airspace last month, killing everyone on board.
Shabery said the moment of silence will be called any time between 10.45am and 11.15am, before the remains of the 20 victims are sent off to their respective home towns or villages for burial.
He said all radio and television stations have been asked to broadcast the event live, and urged all Malaysians to tune in so they will know when the moment of silence is called.
“We have asked that there not be any heavy entertainment programmes in the morning.
“Of course other channels like the sports channels can continue with their programmeming, but we have asked all to stop their broadcasts during the minute of silence,” the minister said.
Shabery said they have also set several locations across the country where traffic will be put on hold during the minute of silence, including the Penang Bridge, the road in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur, the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor and one soon-to-be determined location each in Sabah and Sarawak.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said a total of 28 Malaysians have so far been identified as of today by Dutch authorities handling forensics work in Amsterdam, including the 20 who will be sent home this Friday.
After the moment of silence, the bodies will be sent out to their waiting families using the Hercules C130 military transport plane for those from Perak and Sarawak and the new EC725 military helicopters for those from other states in the Peninsular.
“I will announce the names of the 20 and the venues where they will be sent back to tomorrow,” he added.
Malaysia last week declared this Friday as a national day of mourning, as the country expects to receive the first batch of remains of the Malaysian victims aboard the Malaysia Airline Boeing 777-200, which was en-route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam.
All 298 passengers and crew aboard the plane were killed in the July 17 tragedy. International authorities believe that the jetliner was shot out of the sky using a surface-to-air missile at an altitude of 33,000 feet.