Chinese anger unfair and excessive, say Malaysians

Chinese anger unfair and excessive, say Malaysians
A relative of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 yells at a security personnel while she attends a protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014.

The increasingly violent anger of Chinese family members over the missing MH370 plane has begun to wear thin on Malaysians.

Some have started lashing out on social media, calling the reactions of some Chinese unfair and excessive.

Since the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) jetliner went missing on March 8, some Chinese families have accused Malaysia of hiding information and even of murder.

A day after Prime Minister Najib Razak declared that the plane had been lost at sea despite the lack of physical wreckage, some Chinese families marched to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing to protest.

About two-thirds of the 239 passengers on board were Chinese and many Malaysians initially sympathised with their loss.

"Even before the truth can be told, MAS, the Malaysian government and all ordinary citizens of this country have already been indicted and condemned as good only for hell," wrote columnist Tay Tian Yan in the Sin Chew Daily last Friday. "What crime has the country committed that we deserve all this?"

When the earthquake struck in Sichuan in May 2008, he noted that Malaysians dug deep into their pockets to donate money and dispatch rescue teams.

Malaysians did not complain when their citizens were killed in road accidents in China, he said.

"I mention these, not to vent my frustration or retaliate. I hope only that more people, in particular Chinese nationals, will understand how hurt and devastated we feel," he wrote. "There is no way a cordial bond between our people and mutual trust between our nations should get crushed this easily."

On Facebook, one person wrote that some Chinese relatives are claiming compensation from insurance even while tearfully insisting that their relatives are still alive.

Others noted that other families, including Malaysians, have behaved with dignity.

"I wonder why other family members are not wailing, cursing, kicking and accusing like them," one person wrote on Facebook.

Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also responded after Chinese families walked out of a briefing by Malaysian officials in Beijing.

"I can imagine what they're going through," he said last Friday. "But I just want to say to the Chinese families that it's not just them that have lost, or are looking for lost members. Malaysians also have lost family members. And 14 other nations have lost family members."

Mr Hishammuddin added that the issue will not strain ties, noting that Mr Najib will visit China in May as part of the 40th anniversary of Malaysia's diplomatic ties with China. Malaysia is China's largest trading partner in South-east Asia, with total trade reaching US$88 billion (S$111 billion) last year.

Professor James Chin, a political analyst from Monash University Malaysia, said: "The difficulty now is that we don't know what happened to the plane, so there's suspicion among the Chinese people that Malaysia is hiding evidence of foul play."

Finding the wreckage would go a long way to resolve the tension, he said.

A backlash is also brewing against the United States media - notably CNN, Fox News and the Washington Post - for what some see as unfair reporting of the way Malaysia has handled the crisis.

Three non-governmental organisations - the Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association, International Muslim Consumers Association and Malaysian Media Foundation - will deliver a protest message to the US embassy on Tuesday.

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