Updated: 07/28/2014 14:51 | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysia marks grim Eid after MH17 crash

Malaysia on Monday marked a solemn Eid al-Fitr, Islam's biggest festival, as families of those aboard downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 mourned the dead.


Malaysia marks grim Eid after MH17 crash

A young girl watches as Muslim women offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at the national mosque in Kuala Lumpur on July 28, 2014 - by Manan Vatsyayana

Prime Minister Najib Razak expressed his "extreme sadness, most profound sympathy and deepest condolences" to MH17 families, as well as relatives of those aboard another Malaysia Airlines jet, MH370, that went missing on March 8.

"Of course, I am able to feel and imagine what they would be going through when, upon waking up on the morning of Eid al-Fitr, their loved ones are not with them," he said in a televised address late Sunday.

Forty-three Malaysian passengers and crew were among the 298 people aboard flight MH17, which is believed to have been shot down by a missile over violence-wracked eastern Ukraine on July 17. None on board survived.

Eid marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and is usually a joyful time of family gatherings and feasting. Some 60 percent of Malaysia's 28 million people are Muslim.

Najib, a Muslim himself, had said he would try to bring back the Malaysian victims' bodies before Eid, but officials have said it could take weeks more as the remains so far recovered are in Netherlands for identification and forensic work.

In his speech, Najib reiterated his promise to bring back the remains "as soon as possible for burial".

Some remains are still believed to be at the crash site.

Most of those aboard the Boeing 777 were Dutch, and Amsterdam is leading the investigation into the disaster.

- 'I won't celebrate without you' -

Diyana Yazeera, daughter of MH17 chief stewardess Dora Shahila Kassim, posted on Twitter late Sunday that Eid, referring to it in the Malay language as Raya, would not be the same.

"Mummy, this year's raya and the upcoming ones, well will not be raya. Im not gonna celebrate it without you," she posted. "Stop asking me to be strong. Its so hard to do."

Zulkifli Abdul Rahman, brother-in-law of the other MH17 chief stewardess Azrina Yakob, said Azrina and her family, including her two young children, had planned to celebrate Eid in northern Malaysia.

"Without her presence this Raya will not be as happy," he told AFP at his home near the airport earlier. "At all family functions, she made things very lively."

In a mark of respect, Malaysia's government also cancelled all so-called "open houses", where Najib and other ministers usually host members of the public on the first day of Eid.

But Najib in his speech encouraged Malaysians to still visit each other and share food as is customary, as many families returned to their home towns to mark the day. 

Monday's front page of the biggest English-language daily The Star showed the iconic blue batik of the Malaysia Airlines cabin crew uniform, and read "MH370 and MH17: Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their loved ones".

Malaysia Airlines' MH370 lost contact en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard, including 50 Malaysian passengers and crew.

It is believed to have veered off course and gone down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8, but no trace of the plane has yet been found.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。