KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 Malaysian Prime Minister
Najib Razak said on Thursday it might take "weeks or months"
before remains of his compatriots who perished in the shooting
down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine can be brought home.
Malaysia, a majority Muslim country, had initially sought to
have the remains returned by July 28 for Hari Raya, also known
as Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the fasting
month of Ramadan.
Forty-three Malaysians died aboard flight MH17 operating
from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, including 15 crew. There were
193 Dutch nationals among the 298 people on board.
"We cannot avoid a very painstaking process. This is both
the technical requirement and the legal requirement," Najib told
reporters after signing a condolences book at the Dutch embassy.
"Therefore it is highly unlikely that the bodies can be
brought back in time for Hari Raya."
Two aircraft carrying remains of some of the passengers
arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday, where experts will work
to identify them with DNA samples collected from relatives. The
process could take months.
The remains of the victims will be brought over the next few
days to a military base in the Dutch town of Hilversum.
(Reporting By Natalie Thomas; Writing By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah
and Trinna Leong; Editing By Ron Popeski)