The government at the time never made public its suspicions that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in 2014 had a criminal motive as there was no concrete proof.
Investigators did not rule out criminal elements in the disappearance of flight MH370, said former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
He said investigators had also looked into pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s political leanings but did not make this public.
“It would have been deemed unfair and legally irresponsible since the black boxes and cockpit voice recorders had not been found and hence, there was no conclusive proof whether the pilot was solely or jointly responsible,” he was quoted as saying.
He was responding to remarks by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot, who said that Putrajaya had believed the flight went missing as a result of a murder-suicide.
“I must stress that this possible scenario was never ruled out during the search effort and investigations, where no effort was spared,” Najib said.
Speaking on Zaharie, the former premier said the pilot was a “known active opposition party member who had attended various political activities and the opposition leader had admitted later that the pilot was related to him.”
Although Najib did not mention names, this was a clear reference to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim who admitted that Zaharie was related to his in-laws. The pilot was also a PKR member.
Meanwhile, Najib said a political party cannot be blamed if the pilot had committed mass murder.
“But it cannot be disputed that their political propaganda machinery and messages at that time were very effective, to the point that many Malaysians were misled and radicalised to the point of fanaticism.
“The mass rallies attended by hundreds of thousands of people after the general election in the previous year before the plane went missing, who believed the malicious and false claims of the opposition party then that there were 40,000 phantom voters and mass blackout during the polling day, is proof of such fanaticism.
“Such claims have since been proven to be outright lies by the then opposition and yet many were absolutely convinced at that time,” he added.
On why authorities suspected Zaharie, Najib said there were several reasons, including that the plane’s transponders were switched off as it was about to enter Vietnam’s airspace.
“This suggests that whoever was responsible had intimate knowledge of commercial flights,” he added.
Najib said investigators also took into account Zaharie’s emotional state, as well as the fact that he had a flight simulator in his house.
The disappearance of the Boeing 777 passenger jetliner, which vanished from the radar screen while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, has continued to baffle aviation experts, family members, friends and people from all over the world.
The plane had gone missing a day after Anwar was sentenced to jail following the Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn his acquittal on a charge of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
It was widely reported Zaharie had attended the hearing at the Court of Appeal on March 7.
Days after the incident, Anwar admitted that Zaharie was related to him through the marriage of one of his children, and that he had also met the senior pilot on “several occasions”.
The last search operations to locate the aircraft ended in May 2018 when a United States-based exploration company Ocean Infinity failed to locate the ill-fated aircraft after searching over 112,000 km2 of the ocean floor in more than three months of operation.
In July 2018, the MH370 Safety Investigation Team, in its 449-page report, concluded they were unable to determine the real cause of the disappearance of the flight but did not rule out the possibility that “unlawful interference” by a third party had caused the incident.
“Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero,” were the Captain’s last words to the air traffic control before the plane dropped off the radar at 1:21am.
Satellite data showed the plane then veered off course, making a series of unscheduled turns over the Strait of Malacca and then out towards the Southern Indian Ocean.
To date, only three wing fragments, known as flaperon, have been confirmed to be that from MH370.
Earlier report: Feb 19, Kit Siang Tells Former Government Leaders to “Speak Up” over Abbott’s MH370 Claim