MAS steward 'sexually assaults' passenger

MAS steward 'sexually assaults' passenger

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flew into another controversy after a member of its cabin crew allegedly "sexually assaulted" a passenger.

The incident happened onboard a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Paris on Aug 4, reported Malaysiakini.

In a statement to the news portal, the airline confirmed the matter. The crew member was detained three days later, the report said.

MAS said in an e-mail to Malaysiakini: "Malaysia Airlines expects and accepts nothing short of the highest standards of conduct from its crew and takes any such allegations very seriously.

"We will naturally assist the French authorities as they conduct their investigation and would stress that the safety, comfort and well-being of our passengers are always our highest priority."

The response follows a report by French news portal FranceTVInfo that a MAS crew member is being investigated for allegedly "sexually assaulting" an Australian passenger.

The incident allegedly happened when the passenger expressed nervousness about flying over the Indian Ocean, following the disappearance of MAS flight MH370 last March.

The report stated that the crew member sat next to the passenger under the pretext of comforting her before "sexually assaulting" her.

It said that French investigation sources told AFP that the passenger reportedly made a report with French border police upon arrival.

The crew member was detained on Aug 7.

This is the latest in a long list of problems plaguing the airline, including two crashes, in recent months.

Disappeared

MH370 disappeared on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people on board.

It is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. Search efforts are still ongoing.

This, coupled with the downing of MH17 over a conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, has further strained the loss-making company.

In response, MAS owners Khazanah last week proposed a buyout of the airline at 27 sen a share, or RM1.4 billion (S$549 million), in a bid to delist and overhaul the airline.

Meanwhile, police have identified possible suspects who made unauthorised withdrawals amounting to RM111,000 from the bank accounts of four victims aboard the missing flight MH370, The Star reported.

This article was published on Aug 15 in The New Paper.

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