News - March 27, 2014

Meanwhile in... Malaysia

Nicolette Meerstadt

In the news: A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has gone missing. The wreckage has still not been found after 17 days, and the cause of the disaster is unknown. What has been established is that the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people on board.

Commentary by Sabrina Zaini, first-year MSc student of Biotechnology from Malaysia.

‘Two of the stewardesses on the flight went to my school. I found that out through a Facebook group from my village. I didn’t know them personally, but it still brings it closer. It is quite bizarre: that could have been me. And it was such an unexpected accident, or whatever it was. It is all still very unclear.

Family members of Chinese passengers are still getting very upset at press conferences. They are angry because they received contradictory information from the Malaysian government. But I don’t think that is fair. It was a joint flight with a Chinese airline. Malaysian airlines is taking care of them and paying for everything: flights from China, accommodation, food, and someone to support them. Malaysians would never express their grief in such an aggressive way. You wouldn’t want to be on TV like that, would you? It is better to wait for the results of the investigation. You can exercise pressure and get angry, but you only go into action only when everything is clear. Malaysians are much more patient. If things really weren’t done correctly, they will let rip. I expect criticism in this case because the government is not communicating well with the media. Different officials keep contradicting each other on TV, and sometimes even in the same press conference. I don’t think they have any PR staff, and they say such stupid things, just as if they were standing around talking to their friends. But if you listen to what they say, you can see where the investigation is being carried out and how it is developing. The message is honest, and I have every confidence in our politicians in this matter.

I think it’s a pity Malaysia is getting such a bad press because of this. But although the government is far from perfect, I still have confidence that we are on the right track. There has been talk of cheating in the election of this government. But I am sure that they are doing their best in this affair. And I am confident we are on the right track and even better politicians are up and coming.’