Families of seven passengers on the missing MH370 flight have received an initial compensation payment of $50,000 from Malaysia Airlines, a Malaysian government official has said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin, who led Malaysia's ministerial-level sub-committee to resolve the issues of the next-of-kin, said the full compensation would be paid after the issue of MH370 was over.
"Whether the plane is found, or we announce the plane is lost. There will be a time that we will announce certain issues," he said in a news conference in Putrajaya on Thursday.
We do not care about compensation. Please let us know more information
Zainuddin said the seven claimants included six Malaysians and one Chinese national, while the identities of 40 claimants for missing Chinese passengers were being checked by the Chinese government, the AP news agency reported.
Months of searches have failed to turn up any trace of the missing Boeing 777, which disappeared on March 8 carrying 239 passengers and crew shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. Most of the passengers were Chinese.
So far no trace of it has been found. Until some debris can be linked to the missing plane, some relatives of passengers on flight MH370 refuse to accept the authorities' version of events, and continue to hope their loved ones are still alive.
On Wednesday, about two dozen relatives of Chinese passengers demanded more information at a Beijing building that houses Malaysia Airlines' regional office.
"Please give us the truth and tell us the right way to find our beloved ones," said Dai Shuqin, whose sister was on the plane with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandchild.
"It has been extremely hard for us, and we can't take it anymore."
The relatives have long criticised Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government for not being more forthcoming with information.
They say they have been demanding the flight data of the plane, an analysis of its possible tracks, and video footage of the passengers boarding the plane.
Their goal, they say, is to account for the whereabouts of the plane and the people it was carrying.
Some relatives say they are in touch with lawyers but that it is too early to discuss compensation until the plane is located.
"We do not care about compensation. Please let us know more information," said Zhang Qian, as she spoke of her missing husband, Wang Houbin, 28.
"We've gone from days of wearing down jackets to now, summer, and we are still waiting," she was quoted by the AP as saying.