A helicopter crash in Malaysia has killed six people including two high-ranking government officials. Both were close associates of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysian officials said on Sunday that Jamaluddin Jarjis, a member of parliament and former ambassador to the United States, and Azlin Alias, Najib's chief of staff, were among the six killed in the crash late on Saturday evening on the outskirts of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Jamaluddin, 63, was also a former science and technology minister.
Ordering a full investigation into the accident, Najib said the deaths were a personal blow as well as a loss to the country.
"I am personally grief-struck. Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis was my friend of many years - and no truer friend could I have. Dato' Azlin Alias was my chief of staff, and a truly outstanding government servant," Najib told a news conference in remarks quoted by state news agency Bernama.
"We have lost two figures who had made great contributions to the government, party and country in this tragedy," he added.
Najib said Jamaluddin, who was also a member of Najib's United Malays National Organization party, had made a large contribution to creating close ties between Malaysia and the US.
Witnesses told Bernama they saw the helicopter explode before crashing to the ground in the town of Semenyih in the state of Selangor.
The helicopter was carrying guests back from the wedding reception of Najib's daughter in the town of Pekan in Pahang.
The other four killed were identified as businessman Tan Huat Seang, the pilot, the co-pilot and a bodyguard.
tj/rc (dpa, Reuters)