THE preliminary report on downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is expected to be released early next month.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the international investigation committee had received the cockpit sound and flight recorders’ data.

“The data is complete, not destroyed or polluted, and can be read clearly. It revealed that the plane was in good condition,” he said after attending Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s first session convocation here yesterday.

Liow said a copy of the preliminary report had been forwarded to countries whose citizens died in the incident.

“I cannot reveal its content. We will leave it to the international investigation team, led by the Netherlands, to announce it.”

Liow said a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747 would be deployed to Amsterdam on Aug 21 to bring home the remains of Malaysians who perished in the tragedy.

“It is a special flight to ensure more caskets can be accommodated,” he said.

Fifteen of the 24 identified victims will be brought home on the first flight. Liow said steps were being taken to ensure the remaining bodies would be flown back as soon as possible.

“We are confident more bodies will be identified in the next few days.”

Liow said the first ceremony on Aug 22 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport would be open to the public.

He also expressed hope that the victims’ families would be strong in facing the challenges ahead.

“The government is with them. I hope they will be able to overcome their sadness. We, too, are all
in sorrow. It is a tragedy for the country.”

In Langkawi, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the remains would be accorded a dignified ceremony, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the Aug 22 ceremony would be led off with a prayer recital followed by a minute of silence to run simultaneously nationwide.

“It might be elaborate but it will be dignified. It would be more dignified if all of Malaysia joined in to honour the victims on that day.”

Hishammuddin said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong left for Amsterdam last night to organise the cremation of two victims.

Their ashes will be on board the same flight carrying the bodies on Aug 22, he said after opening the Langkawi Umno division’s delegates meeting here yesterday.

Hishammuddin said two C-130 Hercules and five Nuri helicopters would transport the victims’ bodies to states outside the Klang Valley. Each Nuri helicopter will carry one body escorted by up to eight family members. The C-130 aircraft will transport the remains of victims from Sabah and Sarawak.

“The victims’ family members in Amsterdam for the identification process will arrive earlier on the same day. The remains to be laid to rest or cremated in the Klang Valley will be transported by road.”

On Thursday, Muhyiddin announced that the government had declared Aug 22 a national day of mourning for MH17 victims. The remains of 16 victims — 15 Malaysians and one Dutch national — was scheduled to return to Malaysia via a special MAS flight.

Sepang district police chief ACP Mohd Yusoff Awang said police outriders would escort transport convoys travelling by road.

“All in all, the ceremony will take about an hour,” Yusoff said, adding police would ensure there is smooth traffic flow on that day.