S'pore construction firm 'ready to help families'

SINGAPORE - Singapore construction firm Chip Eng Seng Corporation says it wants to help the families of three former workers who were on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, but is not sure how to do so yet.

With the search for the missing plane still ongoing, the listed company said it does not want to give the impression that all hope is lost by doling out financial support too soon.

A director of the company, who preferred not to be named, said it was in contact with the Chinese Embassy in Singapore to look into how best to help the families of workers Zhao Peng, 24, Wang Yongqiang, 29, and Yao Li Fei, 30.

Some family members have complained that nobody from the company has contacted them since the plane went missing on March 8.

But the company told The Sunday Times that on the Monday after the flight vanished, a human resource representative called the next-of-kin listed by the three men to ensure that they knew the men were on that flight.

The company representative is believed to have spoken with the sisters of two of the men, but for the third, contact was made with a person whose relationship was not specified.

The director felt something may have been lost in the conversation - the company representative may not have identified himself properly, or perhaps the family member did not recognise the firm.

Chip Eng Seng, which employs about 800 foreign workers, clarified that the three men flew from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on an MAS flight before making the connection to MH370.

A travel agent had offered several itineraries. But MAS' midnight flight to Beijing was picked as the company had received positive feedback from agents and workers.

The flight provides in-flight meals and large baggage allowances of up to 30kg. It also arrives at 6.30am, making it easy for workers to continue travelling to their hometowns.

This article was published on April 13 in The Straits Times.

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