PETALING JAYA: “I stand before you today not only as the group chief executive officer of MAS, but also as a parent, a brother, a son.
“My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families,” said Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya in a press conference yesterday.
The MAS chief, who has braved the harsh media glare ever since the aircraft’s baffling disappearance on March 8, admitted that the past 18 days were the greatest challenge MAS had ever faced.
He said the airline would continue to support over 900 of the passengers’ family members with two dedicated caregivers per family.
Ahmad Jauhari said he was humbled by the dedication and support by his team at MAS; and thanked the Government and all the countries involved in the global search effort.
He added that MAS was prepared to offer additional payments beyond the initial financial assistance of US$5,000 (RM16,500) per passenger to the next-of-kin.
Ahmad Jauhari also shot down media reports that MAS had callously informed the passengers’ grief-stricken families of the news by SMS on Monday night.
“Wherever humanly possible, we did so in person with the families or by telephone, using SMS only as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media,” he stressed.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had said that a high-level team would be going back to Beijing tonight to provide further details to the families regarding the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday night.
“They will be able to answer questions from the family members.”
However, he conceded the one question they could not answer was the one the families wanted to know – the whereabout of their loved ones.