MH370: Families of crew members allege MAS has 'abandoned' them

PETALING JAYA - The family members of seven missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 crew are claiming that they have been 'abandoned' by the airline as punishment for seeking legal advice.

"When we called our caregivers, they informed us that MAS had instructed them to stop talking to us because we had enlisted legal advice, which is our right," said Calvin Shim on Sunday, whose wife Christine Tan was a stewardess aboard the flight.

The family members of the seven crewmembers claimed that MAS stopped caregiving services and severed all communication with them since May 8, after learning family members had acquired the services of a lawyer.

The family members said they had hired a lawyer to advise them on certain legal matters, such as legal documents they were asked to sign.

Shim said that MAS abruptly stopped communicating to them and they had no one to turn to for information or updates on the search.

"Two days ago (Friday), they sent us an email saying that because we had hired a lawyer, whatever queries on MH370 should be directed to their legal team via our lawyer," he said in a joint press conference with several family members of seven crewmembers at Subang Holiday Villa.

Elaine Chew, the wife of steward Tan Size Hiang, said her request for a counsellor for her five-year-old son has been put on hold because of this.

"It is unfair from them to leave us in the dark like this," she said.

MAS, when contacted, were unable to response by press time.

Flight MH370, with 239 people on board including 12 crewmembers, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea.

A multinational search was mounted for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learnt that the plane had veered off course, in the southern Indian Ocean.