MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

'Beijing demo not due to envoy skipping meeting'

Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman has denied a report claiming that Malaysia's envoy to China, Iskandar Sarudin, had failed to keep an appointment with families of passengers of Flight MH370.

This had sparked anger and their protest march to Malaysia’s diplomatic mission in Beijing yesterday.

“It is not true,” he said in a brief text-message to Malaysiakini in response to the claim in a report by the UK-based daily, The Guardian.

He, however, did not respond when asked if Iskandar had indeed missed a scheduled appointment or if this had been rescheduled for other reasons.

The daily reported: ‘The final straw was the ambassador to China's failure to arrive for a Tuesday morning meeting that relatives had been promised, one of the protestors said.

‘It is not clear whether there was a delay or simply a miscommunication, but when Iskandar Sarudin subsequently met family members he did not help matters by declining to answer most questions.’

The report said anger among Chinese relatives had been brewing over the past 19 days due to lack of information from both Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and the Malaysian government.

Contributing to their fury was the MAS' text-message stating that their family-members had ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ perished in the southern Indian Ocean, said the report.

MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (right) has explained that the text-message was sent as a “last resort” to those who could not be reached via phone or in person, to ensure they did not hear the news via the media first.

“Admirable as that intention was, the implementation clearly went awry: the families gathered in Beijing could easily have been briefed en masse and the message was sent in English, a language that most of them could not read. The Chinese version did not follow until later,”The Guardian report said.

It questioned why MAS had not rounded up the families, most of whom were staying at the Lido Hotel, to break the news to them in person.

Instead the text-message said their loved ones had perished and referred them to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's announcement scheduled for later that night.

In the absence of wreckage, the families have reportedly refused to accept MAS' assertion that no one would be able to survive after 18 days in the hostile southern Indian Ocean.

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