MH370: Families confused about 'aid' becoming 'compensation'

The families of passengers and crew aboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 have been offered compensation, but a number of them seem dissatisfied with the offer.

Their main concerns: MAS' sudden change of terminology from "financial assistance" to "compensation" and the lack of evidence that the passengers and crew are dead, reported Malaysia's The Star.

The airline said its Family Support Centre had been communicating with the next-of-kin on Saturday to alert them of the initial payment, which it said would not affect their right to claim compensation according to the law at a later stage.

Some family members told The Star that the airline had offered a five-figure allowance in US dollars for the initial compensation and they had rejected this.

This comes after an April 20 meeting between Malaysia's deputy foreign minister Hamzah Zainuddin and the families on the issuance of a form of financial assistance to help the next-of-kin "move forward".

A relative, who asked to remain anonymous, said the airline had told her that a cheque - as part of the full amount yet to be paid - was ready for her.

She said: "They won't tell me what the full amount will be, but I won't accept the compensation.

"In the last briefing, they told us that it was just financial aid.

"But now, they are saying it is compensation like they want us to accept what has happened."


She added: "How can they issue compensation when I don't even have a death certificate yet."

Mr Mohd Sahril Shaari, a cousin of passenger Razahan Zamani, claimed that his family had not received any call from MAS although they would not be accepting any money.

"I think they are trying to pay us off to drop this and forget the whole thing. Find the plane first and prove that they are all dead before we talk about money," he said.

But Mr Mohd Sahril agreed that financial aid to those who had lost their breadwinners would be appreciated.

Mr Selamat Omar, the father of aviation engineer Khairul Amri Selamat, also said that he had not received any call from MAS, adding that the first initial payment of US$5,000 (S$6,300) was made only to his mother, whom he is separated from.

"I hope the airline can consider that I am also Khairul's parent and provide some aid to me," he said.

This article was published on May 5 in The New Paper.

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