KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 ― City lights may have brightened Dataran Merdeka last night, but the iconic landmark was unmistakably sombre, as small groups of people quietly gathered there to hold a candlelight vigil for the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
It has now been exactly one month since flight MH370 has been missing, and despite a multinational search operation which has spanned oceans and countries, no one knows where the aircraft has landed, save for theories and plausible scenarios.
By 11.30pm, a small group of 150-odd Malaysians of different races stood within the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur, saying little but hoping for the impossible.
From adults to the elderly and even children, people lit candles and formed a small circle around a sign which read “in remembrance of the one month since MH370 went missing.”
“We are here to offer our support for the families and relatives of those who were on board MH370. There is little we can do, so we pray to our respective God to try and make this painful moment as bearable as possible,” a 28-year-old who only wanted to be known as Hussaini told The Malay Mail Online.
Hussaini, who attended the candlelight vigil along with his wife, Fatin and daughter said that it was important for everyone to never forget the people who were on board the ill-fated flight.
For Nason Ponniah, turning up at the vigil was “the very least” Malaysians could do, adding that he could not imagine the pain the families had to go through.
“I was driving here earlier, and just thinking about losing someone, a son, mother… I couldn't take it, I started crying.
“It's made worse because we don't know what happened,” he told The Malay Mail Online.
Peter Chong, a close friend of MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, told attendees that right now the most important thing was for those affected by the missing aircraft to get the support and love from all Malaysians.
“Malaysians should stand up, it is not a moment to chase scapegoats,” he said.
The vigil, organised by the DAP, saw a host of MPs and leaders from the party including DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, Penang Chief Minister and party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Serdang MP Dr Ong Kian Ming and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.
It was of several held simultaneously in other states throughout the country.
“We are here to show solidarity to those men and women who are risking their lives in the search-and-rescue operation,” Lip Eng said.
When the clock from the old courthouse building opposite Dataran Merdeka struck midnight, a moment of silence and prayer was observed, as the lit candles blazed fiercely into the night.
Shortly after that, the crowd slowly dispersed, as silently as when they first came.
The plane bound for Beijing, China in the early hours of March 8 fell off the Malaysian radar about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport but did not reappear on Vietnamese radar as expected.
The Boeing 777-200ER which was carrying 239 people “ended” in the Indian Ocean, according to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
No debris has so far been found.
Search teams are racing against time to find the plane’s black box before its battery life ends.