Malaysia Airlines has been given a two-week extension to prepare its defense in a lawsuit filed by the family of a passenger on board missing Flight MH370, local media reports said Monday. Meanwhile, the lawyer of the passenger’s family revealed that several witnesses have come forward with vital information about the aircraft’s disappearance.
Datuk Arunan Selvaraj said that the defense team had asked for an extension as the lawsuit filed in October involved several parties. The registrar reportedly agreed to an extension until Dec. 15 at a high court in Kuala Lumpur. The defense team also reportedly said that it needed more time to study the lawsuit's documents.
“Today, they have been asked to appear before the presiding judge of this matter on Jan 12, 2015 for (another) case management,” Selvaraj, the lead counsel in the suit filed on behalf of passenger Jee Jing Hang’s two teenage sons against the company and four other agencies for breach of contract and negligence, reportedly said. "The judge will then decide on the trial date."
Selvaraj also reportedly revealed that, over the next two months, the lawyers will meet with new witnesses who claim to have crucial information about the Boeing 777, which went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
“We can’t reveal our witnesses yet, but rest assured that we shall not be calling Mario Balotelli as the star witness, whose name had been mentioned in the early stages of the press conference held by the defendants which even hit the headlines of the press, as we opine that such comments are better left unuttered,” Selvaraj said, according to the Rakyat Post, a local online news portal.
Reports had emerged, a few days after the plane's disappearance, claiming that a passenger traveling on board the plane with a fake passport resembled Italian soccer player Balotelli. Selvaraj also reportedly said that the lawyers were hearing from several experts in the field, “which forms the very pivotal basis for our clients’ case.”
The plaintiffs, aged 11 and 14, reportedly filed the lawsuit through their mother, against the airline company, the Malaysian government, the Department of Civil Aviation, the Department of Immigration and the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The family’s lawyer reportedly said that they had filed the lawsuit, the first against the airline filed in its home country, because the relatives of the passenger on the ill-fated plane believed the airline and the authorities had had enough time to locate the jet.
The search for Flight MH370 has entered its ninth month with no concrete clues as to the whereabouts of the plane.
“Worse still, after 9 months and still counting and after the authorities’ assurance that ‘99.9% the plane will be found’, to date no trace of the plane or its debris has been identified,” Selvaraj reportedly said. “Such mere sweet talk serves no purpose, but unsettles the next-of-kin, plunging them into deeper misery. Action speaks louder than words, but in this case we prefer ‘results speaks louder than sheer optimism’.”