MALAYSIA'S Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had an intimate meeting with Malaysian family members of those on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Saturday morning, reassuring them of his commitment to find the plane's wreckage "no matter how remote" the odds are. But he stopped short of giving a definite answer on the issue of accountability.
The minister, who showed up with his wife Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, a princess from the state of Pahang, as well as his son and daughter, said he felt strengthened and more spirited after meeting the family members for close to two hours at The Everly Hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, where nine Malaysian families are housed while awaiting news of the search for MH370. The plane is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean according to satellite analysis.
"I gave them strength and commitment, they gave me strength to persevere," Mr Hishammuddin told a crowd of more than 50 journalists and video crew, adding that he was deeply moved by the "hope in their eyes".
Mr Mohammad Sharil Shaari, the cousin of passenger Muhammad Razahan Zamani, a 24-year-old who was on board MH370 with his wife on a honeymoon trip to Beijing, said the meeting with Mr Hishammuddin was very intimate.
"He was sitting right in front of us. The family members sat around him," said Mr Sharil, referring to the minister who came dressed in blue jeans.
The atmosphere was cordial, but he said many family members have made known their unhappiness with the inconsistent answers they have been getting from the authorities.
"Many in the room were angry, not just me," he said. "The responses that we have been getting are unclear."
The authorities should be more "straight to the point", he said, adding that his cousin's mother still cries whenever she sees her son's picture on TV.
The MAS plane carrying 239 people lost contact with ground control on March 8 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Teams from six countries - Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States - are searching the waters off Western Australia’s coast for the plane after a few reported sightings of objects possibly linked to it.