SEREMBAN - The spouses or next of kin of the 27 Malaysia Airlines (MAS) crew members who perished in the MH17 and MH370 tragedies will be paid RM2,000 (S$800) ex-gratia each, similar to the amount paid out by the national carrier to its 19,500 serving employees a few days ago.
It is learnt that the management only agreed to pay out the sum to their next of kin on Aug 8 following the intervention of certain airline officials, including from the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam).
An industry source said the airline had initially decided against paying the next of kin of the 27 crew members, most of whom had served MAS for many years.
"When we enquired with the management, we were told any ex-gratia payment is only for current staff. Since the crew members are no longer with us, they are not considered employees," he said.
The beleaguered airline, which has not paid bonuses for years, decided to pay employees RM2,000 each as a token of gratitude and for their willingness to serve MAS despite the double tragedy.
The source said it made no sense for the management not to pay the RM2,000 as those employees had perished while on duty.
Beijing-bound MH370 left Kuala Lumpur on March 8 with 12 crew members and 227 passengers on board and is believed to have ended its journey in the southern Indian Ocean. MH17, carrying a crew of 15 and 283 passengers, was en route from Amsterdam to KL when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17.
Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said union officials had earlier brought up the ex-gratia issue with the management. Prior to this, Nufam had on its own raised over RM50,000 for the families of the MH370 cabin crew.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim as saying in Sebuyau, Sarawak, that families of MH17 crash victims are willing to accept their personal belongings if no remains of their loved ones are found.