Over 400 families compensated for MH370, MH17 tragedies

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

A total of 428 families of victims of the Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAB) MH370 and MH17 tragedies have been fully compensated, with 125 families still in talks on a final compensation amount.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture) said 130 next-of-kins of passengers of the missing MH370 plane have received full compensation, while the remaining 109 beneficiaries have only received partial compensation and are still in negotiations to reach the final compensation figure.

Meanwhile, for the 298 families affected by the MH17 calamity, 282 had received full compensation, with the remaining 16 still in discussions on a final compensation amount after receiving part of the recompense. Two families opted not to receive any compensation.

Loke said this in a parliamentary written reply last week to Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (Kubang Kerian-PAS) who requested the minister to state the latest development on the twin tragedies, including compensation figures and legal actions taken to date.

It is unclear, however, as to who had made the payments.

Loke said the compensation paid to the families of the victims of Flight MH370 is assessed under Montreal Convention 1999 with the subject of proof of loss incurred by each passenger. He stressed that each sum is different as it is subjected to proof of loss for each individual passenger.

In 2014, all the families of passengers and crew on board MH370 were offered interim payments of US$50,000 (RM163,817), which some accepted. MAB’s insurer, a consortium led by Germany’s Allianz SE, is believed to have made the payments.

The same advance compensation was also offered to immediate family members of the MH17 victims by the national carrier. However, since then, families have sought legal options to seek justice with many embroiled in court cases.

In 2017, The Guardian reported that the battle for compensation for MH370 families stalled over access to documents from MAB, after the latter claimed it had “actually gone beyond its legal obligations”.

The report said among the most advanced cases against MAB were separate proceedings lodged in the Kuala Lumpur High Court and the Australian Federal Court, both of which were in limbo over access to documents and logs relating to the flight.

A spokesperson for the flag carrier said the airline took its legal obligations “seriously” and that all next-of-kins of the MH370 passengers who had pursued claims of compensation had either been settled or were in the process of settling them.

On MH17, Reuters recently reported that the family of an American killed in the tragedy had filed a lawsuit against US-based money-transfer companies and two Russian banks they accuse of providing services to the group they blame for striking Flight MH17.

Under the US Anti-Terrorism Act, the family is suing Sberbank of Russia, VTB Bank, Western Union Co and Western Union Financial Services, MoneyGram International Inc and MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc for providing services to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.