PETALING JAYA: The wife of one of the passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 wants authorities in Australia to drop their plans to create a memorial for the 239 people lost along with the aircraft in 2014.
Danica Weeks, the wife of Perth resident Paul Weeks, was reported by the Perth Now news portal today as describing the plan for the structure, to be erected in the city, as distasteful as the plane had still not been found.
She claimed that it sent a message to relatives of the missing that their loved ones were “collateral damage” and that authorities “want to move on from MH370”.
“This doesn’t give us any sense of peace whatsoever,” Danica, who now lives with her two young sons from Paul in Queensland, was quoted as saying.
“It’s like they are saying, ‘We are doing you a memorial, here you go. Move on.’”
“I wrote to them and said ‘what am I supposed to tell my kids now? The boys are old enough to hear about and ask if they have found dad and whether this is where he is now?’,” she added.
She said the memorial should only be erected when the plane’s exact location is known.
“Do we need more reminders that our loved ones are missing, especially at a time when it hurts us the most?” she said, referring to the Christmas period.
“Clearly they didn’t listen to that plea and they went ahead and did it. I’m totally angered by it. To me, it’s like a slap in the face really,” she was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, Western Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet had released a tender with a commission value of A$126,000 (RM296,000) for the memorial to be sited at Elizabeth Quay in Perth.
The development of the structure would be funded by the state and federal governments.
Perth was selected because of its proximity to the Indian Ocean, where the plane was believed to have last flown over.
Danica however said there was uncertainty about whether it was even in the Indian Ocean.
“Until we know exactly where it is, let’s hold off on spending money on a memorial. They are putting the cart before the horse,” she was quoted as saying.
Perth Now also reported a spokesman for Western Australia premier Mark McGowan as saying that the state government understood the sensitivities and “expected consultation with families of those missing to be very thorough”.
“We will be following up on these concerns with the federal government,” he said.
MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.
Australia, China and Malaysia, which jointly coordinated and funded the search operation led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), announced in January this year the suspension of the search for the plane.