Angry Chinese nationals barge into briefing room
There was chaos at the auditorium used by the authorities for the daily press briefings on Flight MH370 after a group of Chinese nationals barged in to speak to reporters.
The group, numbering at about a dozen people, said they were relatives of those on board the plane and want to express their anguish and anger after being brought to Malaysia, but are left with little information on the progress of the search for the missing plane.
A press officer announced through a microphone that the venue is for Department of Civil Aviation's (DCA) press conferences only, and security personnel arrived shortly after to remove the gatecrashers by force.
Some of them were seen crying and screaming as they were dragged into the media secretariat office in an adjacent room, which is off-limits to media personnel.
"I've been here for four days! Please help me get back my son!" cried one elderly woman in Mandarin.
"From the South China Sea and now elsewhere. We don't know where the plane had gone... There is no information at all," cried another person, who was on the verge of tears.
Another was seen carrying a banner which read "We are against the Malaysian government for hiding the truth and delaying the rescue. Release our families unconditionally!"
The entire episode lasted less than 10 minutes.
Hisham: It is heart-wrenching for me too
The incident happened as reporters were stationed in the auditorium. The standard practice is to reserve seats about an hour before the press briefing, which usually takes place at 5.30pm.
Relatives of some of the 152 Chinese nationals aboard the missing Flight MH370 have been flown to Malaysia and are currently staying at a hotel in Putrajaya.
MAS has claimed that they have been assigned a staff for each family in Malaysia and China, who will provide updates on the progress of the search.
However, there are some families who have grown impatient with the lack of progress while several families, in Beijing, have threatened to go on hunger strike .
Meanwhile, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein ( left ), during the press briefing which followed, said he could empathise with what the families are going through.
"One of our main priorities is how to handle their emotions and the families. That is why we are sending a team to Beijing.
"I hope and appeal to everybody, that we are trying our very best. This is also heart-wrenching for me," he said.
Earlier during the briefing, Hishammuddin had also said that they are sending a high-level team that comprise of representatives of the prime minister, foreign ministry and the DCA to Beijing.
As the press briefing was going on, another round of commotion erupted elsewhere when the families were escorted out of the media secretariat office under heavy police guard at about 5.40pm.
Journalists were pushed away when they tried to approach the Chinese nationals as they were being taken to an upper floor.
Several journalist fell down while policemen could be heard shouting " tahan, tahan (hold them back)" at the press.
After the family members were led to the new room, a police line was formed outside to bar entry of pressmen.
"Who is the officer in charge here and why we are not allowed to talk to the Chinese families?" asked a BBC journalist while recording a live report.
The latter was later pushed against a wall while he tried to approach Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar for comment at about 6pm.
The police chief then entered the room without talking to the press.
For more news and views that matter, subscribe and support independent media for only RM0.36 sen a day:Subscribe now
Keep Malaysiakini independent!
Malaysiakini will be 18 this year. That we’ve survived this long is because of you.
Your support matters. A lot. Especially those who pay RM150 annually, RM288 biennially or RM388 triennially to keep Malaysiakini independent from government influence and corporate interests. Advertising alone will not keep Malaysiakini afloat.
Together, we’ve gone far. We’ve covered three prime ministers, four general elections, five Bersih rallies, and countless scandals. But the journey continues.
Help us deliver news and views that matter to Malaysians. Help us make a difference for Malaysia.