KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — The disappearance of flight MH370 and kidnappings near Semporna, Sabah, have not discouraged Chinese tourists from visiting Malaysia.
Sichuan native Xiao Huan, 25, who arrived here on April 4, admitted she had initially wanted to cancel her trip here because of the MH370 incident. She had booked the trip in December last year.
“I was worried about boarding the flight. I didn’t cancel in the end because we had paid for it,” said Xiao.
Xiao admitted Malaysia Airlines (MAS) could have handled the plane’s disappearance better in the early stages.
“There seemed to be so much confusion when the news broke. I heard the flight landed in Nanning, China, initially. But that was found to be untrue,” she said.
Her husband, Li Xin, 25, said Chinese nationals just want to know what happened to the flight.
“We can only know what happened when the multinational search and rescue teams find the black box,” he said.
The couple’s friend, Xu Lin, said there were too many rumours circulating on Chinese social media sites.
“Web users are expressing their thoughts and speculating on MH370. This is not helping because they are stirring up the anger of others,” the 24-year-old said.
“The rumours and speculations are making us uncomfortable,” she said.
Another of the couple’s friend, Chen Xi, added: “We understand what the victims’ families are going through. It was the same grief as what the Sichuan people experienced in the 2008 earthquake.”
However, Li, Xiao, Xu and Chen pointed out that they are fond of Malaysia, and wish to come back if they had the chance.
“I love Penang and other islands in Malaysia. I would recommend them to my friends and family. In Sichuan, we don’t have such views,” said Li.
Another tourist, Zhou Ping, 53, said the flight’s disappearance was an unfortunate event.
“No one could have seen that coming. All countries are doing their best to recover the plane. I don’t think MAS should be held responsible for the incident. No one could have foreseen it,” he said.
Ping said he had been to Malaysia twice for work before and this time, brought his wife and daughter for a vacation in Langkawi.
Retiree Zhou Chang Ming, 60, who is visiting Malaysia for the first time, was worried about the security in the country.
“Fake passport-holders can board planes and intruders can come by sea to take hostages for money. Security needs to be improved so that tourists like us feel safe,” he said.
Having said that, Zhou said he would still recommend Malaysia to family and friends as a holiday destination.
“I love the helpful people. The country is also clean,” he said.