“Where is the Transport Minister and Prime Minister?” encapsulates the heart-rending cries of despair and outrage of bereaved families of 239 passengers/crew of MH 370 at the continued bungling, insensitivity and lack of respect shown to them by Malaysian authorities
“Where is the Transport Minister and Prime Minister?” encapsulates the heart-rending cries of despair and outrage of the bereaved families of 239 passengers/crew of MH 370 at the continued bungling, insensitivity and lack of respect shown to them by the Malaysian authorities.
There is no answer to the outrage of a family member who said: “They have no guts to announce it right to our face”, for it was the truth.
Clearly, the Malaysian authorities have not learnt very much from their series of blunders and failures in the mishandling of the MH 370 disaster since the disaster of the disappearance of the MAS jetliner on March 8 last year, in particular to treat the bereaved families with respect, whether with regard to the latest updates on the missing plane or government’s intention or plans.
Why didn’t the authorities first inform and consult the bereaved families before making any official announcement yesterday that MH 370 was “an accident” and all 239 passengers and crew on board presumed to have lost their lives?
What is worse, the Malaysian authorities were involved in a “cat-and-mouse” game with the bereaved families who had been trying to find out about the announcement since January 27, but those in authority would not let them know anything although in actual fact they were planning it; and the cancellation of the earlier scheduled press briefing yesterday when family members were present resulting in the Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman making the announcement in a live telecast behind closed doors without the media and next-of-kin present.
All these were not disaster management practices at their best and one is reminded of the disaster management failures in the worst floods catastrophe in living memory in Malaysia only last month!
The greatest fear and concern of the bereaved families is that the Malaysian authorities, in particular the Department of Civil Aviation, were absolving themselves of responsibility for the MH 370 disaster and were taking the first steps towards ending the search for the missing aircraft.
The absence of the Prime Minister and the Transport Minister only reinforces their fear and concern that the authorities were about to wash their hands of the disaster.
How can the Prime Minister and Transport Minister give them, the country and world – as bereaved families are also from foreign nations – a firm, categorical and credible guarantee that the Malaysian government will not give up the search for the missing aircraft?