March 27, 2014
|A woman walks past a banner filled with well-wishes for all involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. [ap/wide world photos]|
Malaysia didn’t only lose an airplane — the Southeast Asian country has also suffered a blow to its international reputation, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Malaysian authorities have been pummeled with criticism over the perception that their search efforts for missing Flight 370 were badly disorganized, that they released conflicting information and were far too slow to reveal crucial data about the airliner that disappeared on March 8.
This week, Malaysian authorities called reporters to a news briefing where Prime Minister Najib Razak explained how outside experts had just concluded from new satellite-data analysis that the plane had gone down in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. The premier may have been trying to offer grieving families some closure, but his words only sparked more pain, uncertainty and anger.
Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, the prime minister’s cousin, defended Malaysia’s response to the crisis, particularly its ability to persuade more than two dozen other nations to set aside their differences and help search for the aircraft.
Initially, Malaysia’s state-owned airline tried to comfort relatives and made regular announcements, even when there wasn’t much to say. But since then too many questions couldn’t be answered, creating a swirl of speculation and conflicting theories that appears to have worsened the emotional toll on relatives of the missing passengers.
In Kuala Lumpur, executives of Malaysia Airlines faced questions this week about why they had chosen to use a text message to inform the relatives that the plane was lost. — Greg Beaubien