Western Australian premier says monument is ‘highly sensitive’ matter among relatives and will not be built until plane is found
A woman walks past graffiti of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur. The plane disappeared on 8 March 2014. Photograph: Mohd Samsul Mohd Said/Getty Images
Plans to build a memorial to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have been put on hold until after the wreck is found.
The Australian and Western Australian governments committed to build a memorial in Perth in 2014 and had already put the $126,000 project out to tender.
But the WA premier, Mark McGowan, said he and the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, had decided that building a memorial before the plane was found was insensitive.
“This is a complex and highly sensitive matter, and the wellbeing of the relatives of those missing has always been our number one priority,” McGowan said in a statement.
“While some relatives were supportive of the memorial, others had concerns. It was decided in the best interests of all concerned not to proceed with the memorial at this point in time.
“We are very confident, after consulting with the Australian relatives, that we have made the right call.”
Danica Weeks, whose husband Paul Weeks was one of the 239 people on board the Boeing 777 when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014, told the Sunday Times in Perth that she opposed the memorial.
“When they find the plane, then we at least know where they are and we can make a decision about where to build a memorial that we can visit,” Weeks said. “We should not have wasted energy on this – that energy should have been spent on finding the plane.”
The plane is believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean, and the Australian, Malaysian, and Chinese governments have funded four years of searches.
A $200m effort funded by the Malaysian government was called off in May, after five months of searching.
The transport minister, Anthony Loke, told reporters at the time he remained “ever hopeful” they would discover new information which might help direct the search, and “at some point in the future the aircraft will be located”.
“We remain steadfast in our unwavering commitments to solving the mystery of MH370,” he said.