Hurt and angry, MH370 families reject ‘death’ announcement

by Mazliza Mustafa
The Malaysian Insider
29 January 2015

Malaysia’s declaration of flight MH370 as lost in an accident and the death of its passengers and crew is a “cover-up and an attempt by the government to close the case quickly”, family members and relatives of those on board say.

“They have no guts to announce it right to our face,” said a passenger’s family member, Mohd Sahril Shaari of the televised announcement made by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) this evening.

“Not only that, where was the transport minister? Where (was) the prime minister? They don’t feel that this is a priority?

“Apparently not, as the person who made the announcement was only the Department of Civil Aviation director-general,” said Sahril who was present at the scheduled press briefing earlier in the afternoon which was cancelled at the last minute.

He said he “knew the government was going to announce something bad” after the briefing, initially scheduled for 3.30pm, was abruptly called off.

Instead, a live telecast of director-general of DCA Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman’s announcement, was later made behind closed doors without the media and next-of-kin present.

Sahril’s cousin, Mohd Razahan Zamani, was among the 239 passengers and crew members on board MH370 when the plane disappeared from radar screens over Vietnamese airspace, less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur, en route to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Sahril further said that the government was also being insensitive as the minister in charge was not present when the announcement was made.

“It looks like we are not important any more. (The government) just wants to close the case, to shut us from asking any more questions and to issue the death certificates. They even declare it to the media without telling us first. Where is the priority?”

He said other families that he had spoken to also expressed unhappiness with how the news was broken to them.

“If they said this is to help the family, they would have done it earlier. Why now? We are not after the money. What we want is the truth,” said Sahril.

Syafinaz Hasnan, whose brother was on board the plane, said she could not accept the declaration of an accident.

“To announce this as an accident is not correct. Accident with what? It just an excuse to declare it so they can make an announcement on the deaths,” she said.

She said that the government should have informed the next-of-kin earlier and separately, instead of through a public announcement.

“Where is the sincerity? Afraid of backlash? They said that they will take care of our feelings and our interest. It appears otherwise.”

Lokman Mustafa, however, said he could accept the death of his sister who was on the plane, but added that he would find it difficult to explain to his mother, especially without concrete evidence.

“I can take it – dead, lost. But to tell this to my mother, they have to come up with something more. There’s no fuselage, there’s no debris, there’s nothing. There’s more mystery to it. I still puzzle as how they can declare it an accident,” said Lokman.

Lokman’s sister Suhaili and her 19 colleagues were employees of semiconductor company Freescale Malaysia and were on their way to Beijing for a one-month course on MH370.

Among her colleagues on the same flight were Safuan Ramlan, 33, and Muzi Yusop, 50, both senior managers.

Lee Kim Fatt, who lost his wife, said he could understand the need for the government to announce the plane as lost and all on board dead, but he was angry with the manner the announcement was handled.

“I am angry as to how the news was broken to us. I cannot accept that my wife is dead. If they say this can help some in getting some financial things done, I do get it. But I need the proof that my wife is no longer alive,” said Lee.

Malaysia today declared that flight MH370 was lost in an accident, and that all its 239 passengers and crew members on board were dead.

Azharuddin, when making the announcement today, said the government acknowledged that the declaration would be difficult for the next-of-kin.

“It is, nonetheless, important that families try to resume normal lives, or as normal a life as may be possible after this sudden loss. Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process.” – January 29, 2015.

  1. #1 by john on Sunday, 1 February 2015 - 12:39 am

    By the look at some of latest events, it seems that Ah Cheat Koc has make his move to mop / clean up “loose ends” at best possible, to start preparing for next GE.
    It just amazing, how the RAKYAT can still believe what these “idiots” (play acting) said, at all.
    Is just too many a times, these idiots had been doing it.

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