KUALA LUMPUR: LITTLE Benjamin Lee Jian Han was finally reunited with his mother yesterday.
The casket bearing the remains of the 1-year-old now fills the spot reserved next to his mother, whose remains were brought home 16 days ago in the second group of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 victims to be repatriated.
Ng Shi Ing, 33, was travelling with her sister and Benjamin when they became among the 298 victims of the tragedy.
Amid the calm but emotional air that enveloped the Xiao En Bereavement Centre in Cheras here stood a Royal Malaysian Navy officer. He is the father to the remains before him.
Lieutenant Commander Lee Vee Weng, who is based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, held himself together as he carried the casket, containing an urn with his son’s ashes, from the hearse that entered the centre’s compound at 9.45am to the centre’s upper level. He was accompanied by family members, friends and armed forces officers.
The centre’s officials, who represented the family, informed pressmen that the family had requested for privacy as they performed the final rites.
Vee Weng met the press an hour later and spoke about his fulfilled hope of having his loved ones returned to him.
“My only wish was to have them home. I have my family members to thank. They have been supporting me through this trying time.”
He expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for their efforts, which had allowed him to lay his wife and son to rest.
Benjamin’s remains will be kept at the centre for two days for prayers and rituals to be carried out. The remains of Benjamin, Ng and her sister will then be brought to the family’s hometown in Muar, Johor.
Ng, a Universiti Malaysia Sabah lecturer, was returning from Antwerp, Belgium, after presenting a paper on Computer-Assisted English Learning, which she had co-wrote with her best friend and research partner, Dr Lee Kean Wah.
In Sepang a few hours earlier, hundreds gathered at Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s Bunga Raya Complex and, led by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, observed a minute of silence as the doors of the hearses carrying Benjamin and Tambi Jie’s remains were closed.
Benjamin’s casket, draped with the Jalur Gemilang, was retrieved from the belly of the MH19 aircraft at 8.41am after Tambi’s casket was brought out.
To date, 199 MH17 victims have been identified, with 99 others in the process of identification.