(June 2): A negligence suit filed by two children of a passenger on board Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 which disappeared on March 8 last year has been settled out of court.
The young plaintiffs, who filed the action through their mother, Ng Pearl Ming, had withdrawn the lawsuit, said Senior Federal Counsel Shahrin Saiful Nizam.
"The suit was struck out following a notice of discontinuance filed by the plaintiff's lawyer," he told reporters after emerging from the chambers of High Court judge Rosnaini Saub.
Shahrin said the family would not be allowed a file fresh suit, and that the judge had not ordered any costs.
Meanwhile, lawyer Dr Arunan Selvaraj, who represented the boys, said the matter had come an amicable settlement after the judge spoke with the mother, Ng.
“Having considered her rights and legal position, she has decided to accept the court compensation and move on with her life,” he said.
The terms of settlement are confidential.
The plaintiffs are the next-of-kin of passenger Jee Jing Hang. They filed the suit through legal firm Messrs Rusmah Arunan & Associates on November 1 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry.
MAS, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the Immigration Department and the Royal Malaysian Air Force were named as defendants in the suit for negligence, and in the case of MAS, breach of contract.
In their statement of claim, the boys said their father, who was 41, had entered into an agreement with MAS for safe passage to Beijing when he paid the airfare.
They said MAS breached the agreement when the plane, which departed from Kuala Lumpur, failed to land safely in Beijing on March 8.
The Boeing-777 left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from civilian radar about an hour later while over the South China Sea.
But the plane was declared lost in an accident on January 29 by DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, and the 239 passengers and crew on board deemed dead.
Lawyers well-versed in aviation law said then that Putrajaya's declaration was an admission of liability and the airline had no defence, should suits be filed against it.
Press reports said the MAS management had offered to pay US$50,000 (RM180,000), which would be deducted from the final compensation.
According to the Montreal Convention – a multilateral treaty that governs international transportation of passengers and cargo – a maximum of US$175,000 can be offered in compensation by airlines.
Of the total number of passengers, 152 were Chinese citizens, including a group of 19 artists with six family members and four staff returning from a calligraphy exhibition of their work in Kuala Lumpur.
Thirty-eight passengers were Malaysians while the rest were from 13 other countries.
The aircraft has yet to be found, even after an extensive search in the southern Indian Ocean where it was believed to have gone down after veering off course. – The Malaysian Insider