Missing Malaysia Airlines jet worries California customers

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The search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet has touched the small and scattered Malaysian community in California, says a businessman who sells tour packages to the former British Colony in Asia.

Pannir Murugesu said his San Francisco-based Sayang Holidays travel agency has not seen a downturn in trips booked on Malaysia Airlines.

"We have not got cancellations per se," he said, "but there is a sense of nervousness."

RELATED: Malaysian leader: Plane's disappearance deliberate

Murugesu said several families whose children were planning to travel as part of a music group to the Asian nation had expressed concerns.

The airline's California flights all use Los Angeles International Airport. Murugesu says the airline has four flights a week. That's a cutback from the eight flights a week the airline averaged last year, according to FlightAware.com.

Murugesu was born in Malaysia. A former airline employee, he's lived in the United States for 20 years. He described his countrymen as a multiracial and multicultural population. In times of crisis, they turn to their respective Christian, Hindu or Muslim faith traditions.

"They congregate in their church, temple or mosque and they do a prayer hoping that (there is) some positive outcome," he said.

Only about 8,000 people of Malaysian descent live in 18 Western states, according to the Malaysian consulate in Los Angeles. The U.S. Census counts about 2,500 of them in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura counties. About half of the L.A. region Malaysians are U.S. citizens by birth or naturalization.




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