Missing MH370: Malaysians of all faiths unite in prayers for passengers

Volunteer rescue workers and religious organizations pray during multi-religion mass prayers for the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 9, 2014.

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - As the mystery surrounding the missing MH370 plane enters its third day, families of passengers onboard continue to cling on to hope in the absence of new leads.

Their anxiety is shared not only by all of Malaysia but people around the world.

While the MH370 aircraft and its passengers are still missing, the nation is united in prayers for those onboard and their family members.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is planning a joint prayer ceremony.

"Until today, there is no sign of the plane or its passengers. Until any evidence is recovered, we still have hope. It is important that we keep the hope alive and pray for a miracle," said MCCBCHST vice-president Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow yesterday.

He said the council members would decide on the time and venue of the prayer ceremony soon.

On Saturday, the MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing mysteriously disappeared, leaving family members of the 239 passengers and crew waiting for answers.

Council of Churches of Malaysia general-secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri encouraged all Christians to include prayers for the affected families in their daily prayers during Lent - the Christian season of preparation before Easter, lasting for about 40 days.

At the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib in Ipoh, a group of Sikh priests gathered with the local community to pray for the well being of all those involved in the incident and for new leads to be found.

Gurdwara president Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill said the prayers were held in the spirit of 1Malaysia, regardless of the race and religion of those in the flight.

The Malaysia Hindhudharma Maamandram (MHDM) will conduct a public mass prayer at the Sri Ramalingeshwarar Temple in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow. "This is a time of emotional distress for Malaysians and the global community. We must not give up hope," said MHDM president A. Radhakrishnan.

Muslims at the al-Muhtadin mosque in Petaling Jaya held a solat hajat prayer to seek divine guidance for those affected yesterday.

In Kuala Lumpur, messages like "Don't give up hope" and "come back very soon" were some left behind by visitors in the Pavilion shopping complex for those onboard.

Pavilion set up an initiative yesterday for the public to display their messages of hope at the mall's main entrance.

Joyce Yap, Pavilion KL chief executive officer in retail hopes the initiative will help Malaysians "pull through during this time of tragedy".

"I was in tears when I found out that my former colleague Wong Sai Sang was one of the passengers of MH370. It's heartbreaking," she said.

Jeannie Ng, Pavilion KL manager for advertising and branding said the public has responded well to the initiative.

"In just half an hour after setting up the message of hope wall, we have received over 200 well-wishes from the public," said Ng.

The initiative was inspired by Malaysians for Malaysia, a civil society movement. Convener Azrul Mohd Khalid hopes the initiative will help those affected by the event of MH370.

He also added that more message display walls will be set up in malls across Klang Valley.