Pandas Fengyi and Fuwa are scheduled to depart China for Malaysia (on a Malaysia Airlines flight, no less) despite Chinese outrage over the Southeast nation’s handling of the MH370 search. Some suspect this move will only ratchet up the fury, which has targeted Malaysian celebrities, and led to a boycott of the country. SCMP reports:
MASkargo, the airliner’s cargo carrier, will fly pandas Fengyi and Fuwa to the country’s capital Kuala Lumpur sometime in mid-April on board a cargo aircraft, Muhammad Aniz Mohd Azmi, a spokesman for the airline, told the South China Morning Post. The exact date has not been set yet, he said.
……China loaned the two giant pandas to Malaysia for ten years to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries in a deal signed in 2012. The arrival of the pandas could soothe some Malaysian anti-Chinese sentiment after Malaysian media and government officials have called Chinese criticism an overreaction to the MH370 mystery. (Though we doubt it will soothe the Chinese anti-Malaysian sentiment anytime soon).
Malaysia has gone to great lengths to make their arrival as comfortable as possible. The Zoo Negara in Selangor on the capital’s outskirts has invested 25 million ringgit (HK$59.4 million) on a panda complex mimicking their natural habitat in Sichuan province. Eight staff will take care of the two animals, local media reports said.
A member of staff with the Malaysian authorities handling the transfer, who was not allowed to speak on record, said they did not expect the panda’s delivery to be affected by the MH370 crisis.