Malaysia

Commotion at briefing venue as angry relatives of passengers on MH370 demand answers

A distraught family member of a Chinese passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she is being brought into a room outside the media conference area at the Sama-Sama Hotel, near the KLIA, in Sepang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, March 19, 2013.A distraught family member of a Chinese passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 cries as she is being brought into a room outside the media conference area at the Sama-Sama Hotel, near the KLIA, in Sepang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, March 19, 2013.A group of angry family members of Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 caused a stir when they stormed into the auditorium at the Sama Sama Hotel  where the daily press briefings are scheduled to be held and accused Putrajaya of hiding information and misleading the public about the search and rescue operation.

The group also carried a huge banner with Mandarin characters, demanding answers from Putrajaya. The hotel is located in Sepang, near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

A sobbing Chinese woman, speaking in Mandarin, cried: "Please let me know where is my son, where is his whereabouts".

The distraught woman kept repeating her demands, calling the government "liars".

She also said Beijing should exert pressure on Malaysia and demand for answers on the whereabouts of flight MH370.

Another relative scolded Putrajaya in Mandarin, saying the Malaysian leaders were "liars" who had kept them in the dark after almost two weeks of searching for the aircraft.

Policemen on duty at the hotel attempted to escort the distraught and angry relatives out of the auditorium, but the situation became chaotic for a while as members of the media rushed to record the scene.

This was the first time relatives of passengers on board the flight MH370 have turned angry and caused a commotion in Kuala Lumpur over the progress of the search for the plane. Previously such outburst only occurred in Beijing where relatives complained that they were not getting adequate information in a timely manner.

Some of the relatives who had remained in Beijing had accused Putrajaya of talking nonsense and conspiring in a cover-up instead of carrying out search and rescue, reported the Financial Express.

"Only the Malaysian government knows the truth about Malaysia Airlines. They've been talking nonsense since the beginning," Wen Wancheng, one of the relatives, told the daily after a meeting with airline officials in Beijing on Monday.

"You hid the whereabouts from the beginning and after seven to eight days you discovered it?

"That was the best time to launch a rescue," added the 63-year-old from the eastern province of Shandong. His son was on board MH370.

Another relative said after the meeting: "Of course there is no useful information for us, there never is."

“We regret the scenes at this afternoon’s press conference, involving some of the relatives of passengers on board MH370," said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

“One can only imagine the anguish they are going through. Malaysia is doing everything in its power to find MH370 and hopefully bring some degree of closure for those whose family members are missing.

“I have ordered an immediate inquiry into the events in the press room today.”

The display of anger by relatives coincided with more scathing criticism of Putrajaya from Chinese state media and social media users.

In an editorial, the China Daily newspaper had asked whether Malaysia was sharing all the information it had gathered.

"The contradictory and piecemeal information Malaysia Airlines and its government have provided has made search efforts difficult and the entire incident even more mysterious," the newspaper had said.

"What else is known that has not been shared with the world?"

Two-thirds of the passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines flight were Chinese. – March 19, 2014.

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