Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Ministry to aid flight victim’s family

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday promised to assist the family of a Taiwanese victim of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, after reports that the airline has asked the family to renounce its claims for compensation.

Chuang Hsiu-ling (莊秀玲) is the only Taiwanese national on board the plane, which went missing on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

Chuang’s family received a request from the airline on April 22 to fill out a declaration document on their kinship with the victim.

The document was forwarded to the family by the ministry.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), whose assistant, Chuang Ching-chiang (莊敬強), is the younger brother of Chuang Hsiu-ling, on Monday accused the ministry of trying to shirk its responsibility of helping the family file a claim for compensation against the airline.

Chao said the family was asked to sign a declaration saying they are waiving any right to sue the governments of the Republic of China or Malaysia, or hold them responsible in any way.

Chuang Ching-chiang and his family have rejected the declaration amid concerns that they would be left without help from the government in their dealings with the airline, and presented another statement instead, Chao said.

According to the document, Malaysia Airlines asked the signatory to declare that they “hold the respective governments non-liable against all actions, which may be taken or made against the respective governments by reason of, or on account of, or arising out of the said governments’ acknowledgment of this declaration and reliance on the information provided in this declaration and hereby waive any right to sue the respective governments for the same.”

A ministry official, who asked for anonymity, said yesterday that the declaration was made to confirm that the signatory was the next-of-kin of Chuang Hsiu-ling and the sole representative for the Chuang family in any matter whatsoever relating to Flight MH370.

The declaration will have no effect on claims for compensation against Malaysia Airlines, but the ministry respected the wishes of the victim’s family, the official said.

After negotiations with related parties in Malaysia, the carrier and the Malaysian government have agreed to consider accepting the statement presented by the Chuang family in lieu of the declaration statement, he said.

Meanwhile, the airline recently transferred a letter to Chuang’s family from Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) that was intended for family members of Chinese nationals on board the airline.

Chao said on Monday: “Being a Republic of China [Taiwan] national, I feel embarrassed and sad” about the letter being given to Chuang’s family.

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