Flight MH370 relatives oppose Malaysian moves towards issuing death certificates
Relatives of flight MH370 passengers have denounced the Malaysian government's suggestion that it would soon look into issuing death certificates for those on board despite no proof yet of what happened to the plane.
The statement, issued in response to a weekend briefing that Malaysian officials gave to families in Kuala Lumpur, also called for a review of satellite data that Malaysia says indicates the plane probably crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
"We, the families of MH370, believe that until they have conclusive proof that the plane crashed with no survivors, they have no right to attempt to settle this case with the issuance of death certificates and final payoffs," said the statement by the "United Families of MH370".
In Sunday's briefing, a Malaysian official said the government would look into a timetable for issuing death certificates for passengers on the Malaysia Airlines flight. The documents are required for families to seek insurance payments, settle debts and address a range of other issues.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainudin also asked relatives in the meeting to submit a proposal for government financial assistance for families.
But relatives, who have repeatedly accused the government and national airline of botching a response to the plane's disappearance and withholding information, said Malaysian authorities were playing an agonising "cat and mouse game" over the fate of their loved ones.
"WE ARE IN UTTER OUTRAGE, DESPAIR AND SHOCK!" the statement said, using bold capital letters.
The Boeing 777 went missing on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.
Australia is leading the hunt for MH370, which is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean after veering sharply from its route for no apparent reason. No debris has yet been found from the plane.
The aerial search for wreckage of the airliner was suspended yesterday due to a tropical cyclone, but 10 ships will continue their work.
Demanding hard evidence, some vocal relatives have repeatedly said they were not convinced by Malaysia's conclusions about data analysis conducted by British satellite communications firm Inmarsat.
"They have failed to share why they would accept a single source [Inmarsat] for analysis, utilising a never before attempted method, as their sole grounds for determining that the plane is under the water and all lives lost," the families said. The statement said they wanted an independent peer review, but this was rejected on grounds Inmarsat's data was protected for privacy reasons.
In Sunday's meeting "not a single one of our questions was answered", it added.