Malaysia Airlines Berhad has failed in its bid to get a lawsuit filed by relatives of three passengers on board the missing flight MH370 thrown out. The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling on 30 March is likely to be a relief for other relatives after Malaysia Airlines Systems underwent a restructuring exercise that saw it transfer all its assets and operations to MAB.
MAB had argued that it had no liability towards the relatives as it was set up eight months after the aircraft disappeared. MH370 was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board when it vanished.
The High Court rejected MAB's argument, saying that its liability would be determined in a trial, government lawyer Alice Loke Yee Ching told reporters. "It was not plain and obvious that MAB is not a proper party [to the suit]. That should only be determined by the full trial," she said.
So far, more than 50 lawsuits have been filed in the Malaysian courts following the plane's disappearance. Other lawsuits have been filed in the US, Australia and China. The plane carried people from 14 nations, of which 153 were Chinese nationals and 38 Malaysians.
It will be the first case against the airline to be heard in Malaysia over MH370. The lawsuit was filed by two teenagers whose parents and elder brother were on board the Boeing 777. High Court however dismissed the teenagers' application to also hold the Malaysian government and two of its entities liable for the plane's disappearance.
Sangeet Kaur Deo, the family's lawyers, told reporters that the court had ruled that while the government had a duty of care to the plaintiffs, "there was no breach of that duty." The lawyer said that the family plans to appeal the court's decision.