BEIJING: About 50 families of Chinese passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 have been gathered in front of the Malaysian embassy here since midnight, Thursday to demand for the presence of an embassy officer at the daily briefings.
This latest display of dissatisfaction towards the Malaysian authorities stemmed from the non-attendance of embassy representatives in the meetings.
“We’ve been waiting all this while. We’re waiting for our loved ones, we’re waiting for the truth. Now we have to wait for what’s left of our dignity.
“We’ve been here for more than two hours but no representative from the Malaysian government has come out to explain. Is this the kind of attitude a government should display?” the families committee posted on its official Weibo account, Friday.
Earlier, next-of-kin had refused to leave the ballroom at Lido Hotel, where daily briefings are held, unless their request to meet a representative from the Malaysian embassy was met.
They said no officials from the embassy had turned up at the daily briefing to answer their questions for three days.
MAS senior vice president Jaffar Derus Ahmad, who chaired the briefing, informed the families that the embassy was willing to send two officers, deputy chief of mission of the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing Bala Chandran Tharman and second secretary Beh Ching Chye, to the briefing. However, the families said they only wanted to meet Bala and not Beh.
They said Beh was not welcome as he was allegedly unfriendly and rude in an earlier briefing.
“If the embassy insists that Beh has to attend the briefing, he can only sit behind the projector screen,” a family member said.
The meeting was deadlocked as both sides refused to budge. At about 11.45pm, Thursday, more than half of the families stood up, declaring angrily that they were heading to the Malaysian embassy.
“Please bear in mind that our priority of discussion here is not about food and accommodation, but about looking for the plane,” said Jiang Hui, one of the family members who remained in the ballroom.
A security officer from MAS was attacked by a disgruntled family member at the Lido Hotel here on Tuesday evening.
S. Kalaichelven, 51, was kicked on his left knee when he tried to prevent the individual from bursting into the secretariat room outside the ballroom. The man was said to have been dissatisfied over his reimbursement claims.
Kalaichelven's knee was swollen as a result and he had to seek medical treatment in a hospital in a wheelchair.
When contacted, MAS Regional Senior Vice President for China Joshua Law Kok Hwa said, “The families do not have to be abusive, we can sit down and talk in a gentleman;y manner.“We’re here to provide support, assistance and care to the next-of-kin, and we’re committed to continue to take care of them.”