PUTRAJAYA: The next-of-kin of at least seven passengers who went missing onboard flight MH370 have received US$50,000 (RM160, 700) per claimant as advanced payment from the airline’s insurance.
A final payment will be issued after the search and rescue mission is wrapped up, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin who chairs the MH370 next-of-kin committee.
The seven claimants included six Malaysians and a Chinese national, while 40 more claimants for missing Chinese passengers are being verified by the Chinese government.
"Most claimants from other countries have also appointed their own lawyers and we are dealing with them.
"That's what we are ready to pay, including for all crew members," said Hamzah Thursday when asked if all 239 passengers of the missing flight would be receiving the same advanced payment amount.
It has been more than three months since the Beijing-bound flight has disappeared after leaving the Malaysian airspace from the KL International Airport on March 8.
A total of 239 people of various nationalities were onboard the flight, including 12 crewmembers and 153 Chinese citizens.
On May 7, two months into the search and rescue mission for the missing flight, MAS closed down its Family Assistance Centres around the world after admitting that the search will be a prolonged process.
The airlines had advised that it would continuously update the next-of-kin of missing passengers via other channels, including telephone calls, text and e-mail messages, and face-to-face meetings.