Give RM1,000 each and other assistance to children of Malaysian helicopter crash victims: Ministry of Education

SINGAPORE: Higher Education Minister Zambree Abdul Kadir has provided all 21 children among the 10 naval personnel killed in a twin-engine helicopter crash in Malaysia on Tuesday (23 April), in addition to other educational support. He said they would each be given RM1,000 (US$210).

Speaking to reporters Wednesday night after visiting the families of the victims, Dr. Zambry also said that children studying at the university will be exempt from paying tuition fees until they graduate.

Dr Zambly pointed out that one of the victim’s children, Nurul Syafika, 21, is a student at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK).

He added that the decision was taken to ease the financial burden on the victims’ families and was approved by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, according to Malay Mail.

“So far, our data has identified 21 children who are still in school and who have received a free SSPN account,” Dr Zambly said. He said this while referring to the National Savings System.

“I think the Ministry of Defense has a plan for children, so having an SSPN account will make it easier to donate, including from other agencies. We will update the actual number of children enrolled,” the minister added.

An interim report on the Perak helicopter crash that killed 10 military personnel is also expected to be compiled within two weeks, a government spokesperson said.

Fahmi Fazil told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the country’s Defense Minister Mohamed Khalid Nordin was working hard to submit the report, and a full report would be completed within a month.

“The Minister of Defense will make some announcements on this matter,” Fahmi Fadzil added, local media reported.

Khaled had mentioned the interim report the previous day at the Defense Ministry’s Hari Raya ceremony. But he did not specify a timeline at the time, instead promising reporters at the event that he and his team would work to release the report “as soon as possible.”

“Such incidents (helicopter crashes) are rare,” he added, citing local media.

The victims will be accorded military honors at the 23rd Royal Malay Regiment camp in Ipoh, Bernama news agency reported.

The fatal accident occurred on the morning of April 23, when Malaysian Navy HOM and Fennec helicopters collided at 9:32 a.m., about 30 minutes after takeoff from Lumut Air Base.

The HOM helicopter crashed on the stadium steps and the Fennec helicopter crashed into the swimming pool. The Navy said all victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The defense minister’s statement said the helicopters were taking part in rehearsals for the 90th Naval Day Parade, and it was the first time the helicopters had rehearsed together for the event.

At a press conference on April 23, Khalid added that nine out of 10 Navy personnel are under the age of 40, with the youngest being 26 and the oldest in their 40s.

The HOM helicopter was carrying four male crew members, including Commander Firdaus Ramli, commander of 503 Squadron, and three female passengers.

The Fennec helicopter was carrying three male crew members, including Commander Muhammad Amir Mohamad, commander of No. 502 Squadron.

Khaled said a Navy serviceman who was swimming in the pool where the Fennec helicopter crashed also suffered minor injuries after being hit by debris.

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