Malaysia has accepted the Dutch report that a ‘Russian-made’ missile shot down its civilian airliner MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, but has yet to see evidence it was fired by Russia, said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
“They are accusing Russia but where is the evidence?” Mahathir told reporters at the Japanese Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCJ) in Tokyo on May 30.
“You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians,” the prime minister went on, according to the Malaysian state news agency Bernama. “It could be by the rebels in Ukraine; it could be the Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile.”
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 – amid heavy fighting between residents of two eastern regions who rejected the February coup in Kiev and troops dispatched by the Western-backed government to suppress them.
All 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board the Boeing-777 were killed. Kiev immediately blamed Russia for the incident, and most Western media uncritically agreed.
No Russian missile system ever crossed into Ukraine: MoD rejects Dutch MH17 claims
Mahathir was skeptical that anyone involved with the Russian military could have launched the missile that struck the plane, however, arguing that it would have been clear to professionals that the target was a civilian airliner.
“I don’t think a very highly disciplined party is responsible for launching the missile,” he said.
Serial numbers of missile that downed MH17 show it was produced in 1986, owned by Ukraine – Russia
The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), whose report last year blamed Moscow for shooting down MH17, barred Russia from participating in the investigation but involved the government of Ukraine. Although Malaysia is also a member of JIT, Mahathir revealed that his country’s officials have been blocked from examining the plane’s flight recorders.
“For some reason, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened,” he said. “We don’t know why we are excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it.”
The idea was not to find out how this happened but seems to be concentrated on trying to pin it on the Russians.
“This is not a neutral kind of examination,” Mahathir added.
Rejecting the JIT accusations, Russia made public the evidence the Dutch-led researchers refused to look into, including the serial number of the missile that allegedly struck MH17, showing that it was manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1986 and was in the arsenal of the Ukrainian army at the time of the tragedy.
Malaysia Prime Minister won’t support the U.S. Huawei 5G ban
In other Malaysia news, Malaysia’s Prime Minister has backed Huawei, snubbing the U.S. blacklist of the Chinese telecoms giant. The Southeast Asian nation’s prime minister has suggested the Trump administration’s campaign against the firm is hypocritical. Kuala Lumpur has a two-decade relationship with Huawei and will not blindly follow Washington, experts say.
“Mahathir Mohamad recently offered a forceful defence of embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei, reported the South China Morning Post recently, suggesting Western nations bent on shutting it down were being hypocritical in their concerns over the company’s ties to Chinese cyber espionage.”
“In back-to-back public appearances in Tokyo, the 93-year-old premier dismissed the prospect of his country joining the likes of the United States and its allies – including Japan – in banning government purchases of the Shenzhen-based company’s telecommunications products.
He said while U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration might have grounds for “condemning” Huawei over security concerns, banning it was “not the way to go”.
Mahathir’s comments in support of Huawei are among the strongest yet from an Asian leader, as the company continues to suffer from being caught in the crossfire of the
U.S.-China trade war.”
“Washington and its allies believe Huawei has links with the Chinese military and is likely to add “back doors” into network equipment to spy on Beijing’s strategic rivals.
Huawei has flatly rejected these claims.”