Malaysian govt rebuts report on inaction in Christchurch, says 'doing its best' to assist terror attack victims and families

Malaysian govt rebuts report on inaction in Christchurch, says 'doing its best' to assist terror attack victims and families

People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday's shooting, in front of the Masjid Al Noor
People visit a memorial site for victims of Friday's shooting, in front of the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 18, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Silva)

SINGAPORE: Malaysia's government is "doing its best" to assist Malaysian victims of the deadly Christchurch terror attack as well as their families, Malaysia's foreign ministry said in a press release on Tuesday (Mar 19).

The ministry's statement was made in response to an article in the Star Online on Monday, headlined: Not much help from Malaysian authorities in Christchurch, so families do it on their own.

READ: Christchurch shootings: Injured Malaysian hit by several bullets, in critical condition

The news outlet reported that some Malaysian family members and survivors of the shootings were frustrated that there was "not much assistance" from Malaysian authorities.

It added that some claimed there had been no financial assistance so far from the Malaysian government, forcing them to set up their own Christchurch Malaysian Relief Fund to help the injured and their families.

Three Malaysians were injured after deadly shootings at two mosques in Christchurch last Friday. The attack killed a total of 50 people and has been described as New Zealand's worst mass shooting.

In its response, Malaysia's foreign ministry said the information given in the article was "inaccurate".

"The ministry wishes to refer to the article in the Star dated Mar 18, 2019 and would like to highlight that the information given in the article was inaccurate," said the ministry. 

"The government of Malaysia is doing its best to assist the victims and their families."

It said that in terms of immediate financial assistance, the ministry had "handed over personal contributions from Malaysians including those based in Wellington to each of the family yesterday evening".

"More financial contribution from multiple sources is expected to trickle in this week," said the ministry.

Regarding financial assistance from the government, the ministry said it had explained that this was "subjected to various financial procedures and regulations".

"We have explained to the families that the New Zealand government has given assurance that all of the victims affected by the shooting incident will be covered by the local Accident Compensation Corporation," it said. 

"This would cover medical requirements including physiotherapy, compensation up to 80 per cent of the loss of monthly income and other assistance needed during the victims’ recovery process."

Victims are also eligible to a relief fund under the Christchurch Muslim Crisis Group and the Christchurch Shooting Victims Fund, said the ministry, adding that it was making the necessary arrangements to assist victims in accessing the funds available to them.


The ministry also gave an update on the status of those injured, saying that they were making "steady progress" and showing a positive response to treatments.

As of Monday, one Malaysian is still classified as missing, said the ministry.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah reiterated that the government has taken the necessary steps to assist Malaysians caught up in the shootings.

After news broke of the tragedy, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah issued a statement, she said.

“The ministry’s deputy secretary-general (Nadzirah Osman) has also travelled to New Zealand to provide assistance to the families of the victims there," she said.

“So don’t simply state that the government hasn’t done anything, because the government and the foreign ministry have done what’s necessary to help our people there."

Dr Wan Azizah said she has spoken to the wives of two of the injured Malaysians, who told her that their husbands were in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

“I understand that another injured victim, Mohd Tarmizi Shuib, is also in stable condition, but we still haven’t heard about his 17-year-old son who is still missing, we hope he will be found safe,” she said.

Source: CNA/Bernama/nc(rw)