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The Star Online: Nation

MH370: No one is keeping us informed, say Chinese next-of-kin

Posted: 09 May 2014 06:39 AM PDT

BEIJING: Family members of Chinese passengers onboard the missing Flight MH370 lamented about not being updated on the latest efforts in the search after they left Lido Hotel here on May 2.

Steven Wang claimed that Malaysia Airlines (MAS) had not been in contact with the families via phone calls or emails to provide the latest information.

"For instance, it was reported that the experts would re-analyse the data and information pertaining to the flight. We have to find out about all these from the media.

"The lack of updates make all the family members angry," said Wang, whose mother was on the ill-fated flight.

He said the lack of updates only add to the worries of the families, adding that they stayed at Lido Hotel "not because we wanted to live and eat here for free."

"We were afraid that no one would take the initiative to keep us informed once we retured to our homes," he said.

Some 400 next-of-kin were housed at several hotels in Beijing since the plane went missing on March 8. Lido Hotel was where daily briefing was held.

The family members were notified on May 2 that MAS would stop providing food and accommodation at all hotels.

Wang said MAS should be gathering all relevant information and pass them to the families.

"We have to do it ourselves instead. We take the initiative to keep in touch and share information with each other.

"Those who live far away contact those in Beijing frequently to enquire about updates," he said.

He said MAS has sent out two SMSes to the families, on May 3 and 7, to inform them on the opening of the family support centre at Shunyi district in Beijing, following the closure of the family assistance centre at Lido Hotel.

Certificates to prove that the passengers were onboard the flight were issued to the family members.

However, Jiang Hui, another family member, pointed out that there were mistakes on a few certificates.

"The passengers' names were inaccurate. As far as I am concerned, there have been three of such cases.

"It is troublesome for the families because they have to travel to Shunyi to get it rectified. This reflected carelessness on the part of MAS," he added.

Jiang added that the families hoped to be given the Chinese version of the preliminary report released on May 1.

He said the translation should also be accompanied to help the families understand the report.

"The report was never sent to us. As families, we have the right to be informed first," he said.

On the advanced compensation payment promised by MAS, Wang said he did not understand why the payment would only be made after the families return home.

It was stated in a notice on May 2 that the details of the payment would be announced in two weeks.

Nonetheless, the families said they would find out more about the payment and seek legal advice before accepting the money.

"It is not the time to initiate the payment of compensation. The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, or Montreal Convention, provided that compensation should be given in case of death or injury of passengers.

"In the case of MH370, it is not suitable to issue the compensation payment yet," Jiang said.

The next-of-kin of the passengers and crew onboard the flight has formed a network calling it MH370 Victim Families and Crew Association, or Voice370.

In an open letter signed by family members from China, Malaysia, United States, New Zealand and India, it urged the Malaysian government to release the raw Inmarsat data so that "it can be subject to broader analysis by relevant experts".

"The Inmarsat satellite data is the only lead we have and is key in identifying MH370's flight path after the plane vanished from the civilian radar screens on March 8.

"In view of the lack of ELT activation and zero detected debris, we feel that it is necessary that the data be subject to independent third party review," the letter said.

The letter, addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott and Chinese President Xi Jinping, also requested the Joint Agency Coordination Centre to release data of the pings recorded by the towed pinger locator.

Voice370 said it represents 800 family members so far. MAS did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

MH370 disappeared from the radar screen near the Malaysia-Vietnam border after taking off from KL International Airport on March 8.

A multi-nation search and rescure operation is now being conducted at the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is said to have ended its journey.

More stories on MH370

KLIA2: Small inconveniences but running smoothly

Posted: 09 May 2014 06:13 AM PDT

SEPANG: I was due to take a domestic flight out of KLIA2 at 10.20am, and understanding Murphy's Law when it comes to first day blues, I decided to be there way earlier than normal.

I took a Skybus from KL Sentral around 6am, and noted that the bus fare remained the same (RM10 one way).

The journey took 50 mins and we arrived at Level 1 of the swanky terminal a good three hours before my departure.

There were many AirAsia staff on hand to assist travellers at that level, but I only saw MAB staff offering assistance only on Level 2.

I was informed I could take the escalators to Level 3 for departure, or the lift. But here's the catch – the lift only goes to Level 2.

After that, it's a long walk and a series of escalators to get to the check-in area.

This is hardly welcoming, if not downright scary, if you're in a rush.

Naturally, many passengers were grumbling audibly about this.

No problems at all with AirAsia counters as it only took me two minutes to drop off my bag.

Jonson Tan, 24, who was flying off to Manila, said when he was dropped off, he could not see any signs pointing to the check-in area, though he was happy with the check-in process as there was no queue.

Food and beverages proved to be a massive disappointment.

Other than fast food outlets, the other restaurants were quite expensive by the average salaryman's standard.

As this is a terminal for budget flights, shouldn't a food court be in place?

Many of the staff in the area expressed the same disappointment, noting that MAB had promised a food court once AirAsia moved in.

From where I stood, I could see that the immigration people were coping well with the number of travellers on the international departure side.

But apparently, it's still Malaysia Boleh when to comes to toilets. The gents were all waterlogged, and this was only after three days of operations.

My other lament is that there are no electrical sockets at the departure gate area, so make sure your devices are fully charged beforehand – or else, you would have to patronise one of the restaurants there to juice up your device.

Other than these, it was still a very pleasant surprise to see things running smoothly overall.

Liow: MCA did not discuss Cabinet portfolios with PM

Posted: 09 May 2014 05:51 AM PDT

 SEGAMAT: MCA only stated its intention to rejoin the Cabinet and did not raise the issue of portfolios in its discussions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said party president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said MCA's intention to rejoin the Cabinet was to help the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to be more effective.

As for portfolios, MCA left this to the Prime Minister to decide, said Liow.

"MCA rejoining the cabinet is not for positions but to shoulder the responsibility of working for the people at the grassroots level.

"The Prime Minister has been informed of MCA's desire to be back in the Cabinet. What is important is that MCA plays an effective role in resolving issues and the people'problems," he told reporters after opening SJKC Bukit Siput's arch here.

Liow was commenting on whether MCA had asked for specific portfolios in the Cabinet.

At an extraordinary general meeting prior to the the 13th General Election in May last year, MCA had decided to forego Cabinet posts if it fared poorly in the election but the decision was rescinded by the party post-GE 13. - Bernama

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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