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MH370 CRASH: Angry relatives arrive in KL seeking apology
Publication Date : 31-03-2014
About 30 relatives of Chinese passengers flew to Kuala Lumpur to angrily press for an apology from the Malaysian government for its handling of the missing plane crisis.
They blame Malaysia for providing conflicting information, for causing delays to the search and rescue operation and, finally, for concluding that the plane had crashed with no survivors without producing any physical evidence.
"We want proof, we want our families, we want the truth," they chanted in unison at a media conference on arrival yesterday in Malaysia's capital.
The group unfurled two Chinese flags and four banners at Holiday Villa Hotel in Subang Jaya yesterday. "Hand us the murderers," read one banner in English.
They also demanded meetings with, among others, US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, British jet engine maker Rolls-Royce and satellite firm Inmarsat, as they vowed to get to the bottom of how and why Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 disappeared three weeks ago.
"Why haven't any representatives from these companies made an appearance? Is there something wrong with their products?" asked Jiang Hui, a spokesman for the Chinese family members.
He said those who could would stay in the country until their demands are met.
The missing MAS plane is a Boeing 777-200ER fitted with two Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. Inmarsat is the British satellite firm which ran analyses that led to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's conclusion that the Beijing-bound plane had ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.
"It is strange. The longer these companies keep quiet, the more their reputations are at stake. They should be the ones asking to meet us," a factory worker, Zhang, whose wife was on board MH370, told The Straits Times. He declined to give his full name.
Decked in white T-shirts printed with the message "Pray for MH370" - what they wore during their protest last Tuesday at the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing - the Chinese family members said they had decided to come to Kuala Lumpur after three "useless" meetings with high-level Malaysian delegates in Beijing.
"They just kept saying they will investigate and get back to us," Jiang told the media yesterday. "That is why we are here."
MAS said 37 family members flew in. However, the Malaysian Chinese Association, a political party which is providing support for them, put the number at 29.
A smaller group of about 20 Chinese family members arrived earlier and have been staying at Hotel Bangi in Putrajaya for more than two weeks.
Another family member, a Liu, told The Straits Times he found it unacceptable that MH370 could fly through Malaysian airspace unhindered after the Beijing-bound plane turned back sharply and re-crossed the Malaysian peninsula.
"The plane disappeared from civilian radar by 1:30am. If the Malaysian military radar picked up a 'blip' an hour later, how could nothing be done about it?" Liu asked. "Either the air traffic controllers or the air force was too slow to react. If they had been more responsible, this tragedy could have been prevented."
Chinese resentment against the Malaysian government has grown since MH370 vanished on March8. Angry family members accused the Malaysian government of a cover-up, calling the officials "murderers" and demanding the "unconditional return" of their loved ones.
Yesterday's group of mostly male relatives was calm, with no major emotional outbursts. They arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the morning after taking a red-eye MAS flight from Beijing.
Some 50 members of the media and around 20 volunteers from the Malaysian Chinese Association's crisis relief squad waited for them from early morning at the arrival hall, but they were taken to their coaches via a secret lane to avoid the media.
The families also spoke to Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang at a closed-door meeting. They were told the Malaysian government would unveil detailed information on the bizarre disappearance of MH370 along with its 239 passengers and crew. Almost two- thirds of those on board were Chinese citizens.