Chinese relatives arrive in Malaysia, demand apology over missing plane


Mon, Mar 31, 2014 - Page 4

Several dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 yesterday demanded that Malaysia apologize for its handling of the search for the missing plane and for the prime minister’s statement saying it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Holding up banners that read “We want evidence, truth, dignity” in Chinese, and “Hand us the murderer. Tell us the truth. Give us our relatives back” in English, the group staged a protest at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur just hours after flying in from Beijing.

Two-thirds of the 227 passengers aboard the plane that disappeared March 8 en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur were Chinese.

The protesters repeatedly chanted slogans in Chinese: “We want evidence! We want the truth! We want our relatives!”

Jiang Hui, the relatives’ designated representative, said they wanted a government apology for what they see as missteps in the initial handling of the disaster, as well as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement that indicated the plane had crashed with no survivors.

Jiang said the relatives felt the conclusion was announced without sufficient evidence.

“We also request that Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government apologize for making the conclusion on March 24, without direct evidence or a sense of responsibility, that the plane was destroyed and people died,” Jiang said.

The relatives wanted to meet airline and government officials, he said, although he stopped short of saying that included Najib, as earlier proposed by some relatives.

“We hope that in these days, we can meet with technical teams involved in the search, and hold talks with Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government. We hope that these discussions will not be like they had been in Beijing, with wishy-washy answers,” Jiang said.

Before the protest, Ong Ka Ting, the Malaysian prime minister’s special envoy to China, went to the hotel to greet the relatives.

Jiang said the relatives wanted the government to release information and data related to the investigation in a “prompt and comprehensive way,” and they wanted the airline to set up meetings with representatives from Boeing, Rolls Royce and Inmarsat.