KUALA LUMPUR, AFP
KUALA LUMPUR–More than half of Malaysians believe their government is hiding information about missing flight MH370, according to survey results released by a news portal Monday. Fifty-four percent of more than 1,000 people surveyed by Malaysia’s leading independent polling firm said the government was not being transparent about the passenger jet’s disappearance, the Malaysian Insider reported. Only 26 percent said they believed the government was being truthful on the Malaysia Airlines plane, while 20 percent were unsure, the news portal said. The Malaysian Insider said it commissioned the survey by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research, which conducted it from March 24-30. AFP did not immediately have access to the original results. The Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people is believed to have veered off course March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.
A massive search is under way in waters off western Australia in hopes of finding the Boeing 777’s flight data recorders to determine what befell the flight. The ruling regime that has governed Malaysia since independence in 1957 already faced a major trust deficit at home. Critics say that for decades it has abused power and its grip on key institutions such as the police and the courts to hide persistent corruption scandals and persecute opponents. The Barisan Nasional (National Front) government stoked international criticism for a chaotic response to MH370, contradictory statements by various government officials, and an unwillingness to comment on an ongoing investigation. Malaysian authorities have insisted, however, that they were not hiding anything but needed to be cautious on commenting on ongoing investigations. Anguished Chinese families — two-thirds of MH370’s passengers were from China — have accused Malaysia of covering up the truth. In the survey 51 percent of respondents said they “were confident” in the government following the plane drama while 45 percent were not, the Malaysian Insider reported. A separate Merdeka Centre survey released two weeks ago found that just 43 percent of Malaysians were satisfied with the government’s handling of the mystery, while 50 percent were dissatisfied. Related story on page 13