Updated: 07/19/2014 00:30 | By Agence France-Presse

Shooter of downed MH17 must be punished: Malaysia PM

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak demanded late Friday that the perpetrators be brought to justice if it is proven that MH17 was shot down in east Ukraine.

Shooter of downed MH17 must be punished: Malaysia PM

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, ouside Kuala Lumpur, on July 18, 2014 - by Manan Vatsyayana

"If evidence shows the plane was shot down, then we demand the responsible party to be brought to face justice," he said in a live address on national television.

Najib Razak refused to pinpoint blame for the tragedy which claimed 298 lives, 43 of whom were Malaysians. 

But he condemned "in the strongest manner" what he described as an "inhumane, uncivilised, violent and irresponsible act".

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 came down in cornfields in a separatist-held region, with the United States claiming it was shot down in a missile attack, a possible casualty of Ukraine's battle with pro-Russian rebels

The crash was yet another blow for Malaysia which has been left reeling by its second major air disaster to hit their national carrier this year. 

In March, Flight MH370 went missing with 239 passengers and crew on board and is now believed to have diverted off its flight path and crashed in the remote Indian Ocean.

Global shock and outrage mounted Friday over the latest tragedy as questions swirled as to who was responsible.

Kiev accused pro-Russian separatists battling Ukrainian forces of committing a "terrorist act" as stunned world leaders urged a full investigation into the disaster, which could further fan the flames of Russia's confrontation with Ukraine, the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War.

The United States demanded an "unimpeded" international inquiry into the tragedy amid concerns the crash site was vulnerable to evidence tampering among scattered debris.

It rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin's charge that Ukraine's crackdown on separatist rebels stoked tensions that led to the crash.

Najib said the demand for justice had been made known to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon along with calls that parties involved ensure the safe passage of rescue workers and that the crash site is undisturbed to allow for a transparent and effective investigation.

He said that he has also asked Putin to offer full cooperation to achieve these demands.

The Malaysian leader added that an emergency sitting of Parliament would be held to reflect the seriousness of Malaysia's people "to condemn the inhumane act".

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