• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:37am
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
Flight MH370

Top politician Anwar Ibrahim denies link to captain of missing Malaysia Airlines jet

Anwar Ibrahim reveals he saw pilot at party meetings but didn't know him personally, as he accepts China's criticism over handling of hunt

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 2014, 11:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 March, 2014, 11:16am

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had seen the captain of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane at meetings of his political party, he told the South China Morning Post yesterday.

But he did not know him personally and criticised attempts to link the captain's political affiliations to the plane's disappearance 10 days ago.

He also said China's condemnation of Malaysia's handling of the search for the Boeing 777 was "absolutely justified".

Flight MH370 lost contact and disappeared from civilian radar screens less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 under the command of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah. There were 239 passengers and crew on board, including 154 Chinese.

It is absolutely understandable for the Chinese to express anger and even disgust

"I don't recollect the name, but when the photographs were shown I remembered I had seen him at party meetings," Anwar said of Zaharie at the headquarters of his People's Justice Party outside Kuala Lumpur. "He doesn't hold positions in the party, but is an active member in the sense that he has been seen with the party's parliamentary leaders, taking photographs with them," Anwar added.

He said they had had no personal contact, but said Zaharie was a follower of his Twitter account. Hours before the plane took off on its doomed flight to Beijing, Anwar was sentenced to five years in jail after a Malaysian court overturned his 2012 acquittal on a sodomy charge.

Watch: Last words from missing Malaysian jet spoken by co-pilot

But there is no evidence to suggest Zaharie was responsible for the plane disappearing in reaction to the ruling.

Malaysia says "deliberate action" in the cockpit led to the flight's disappearance and police have searched the homes of Zaharie and First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid. But little has emerged to implicate either man.

Watch: Hunting MH370: A needle in a growing haystack

Attention on Zaharie has focused on his support for Malaysia's opposition and the flight simulator he built in his home.

Initial investigations showed it was Fariq who spoke the last words - "All right, good night" - to Malaysian air traffic controllers, acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday. He also said both pilots had passed psychological tests.

Anwar said he thought the government was deploying its media to associate the missing plane with him. He said "they really should be focusing on carrying out transparent and objective investigations, instead of aligning it with me".

Beijing has demanded that Malaysia increases its efforts to find the missing plane and said there was "too much confusion" in the information released.

Anwar said Chinese officials he had met were all "extremely polite". But he added: "In this case, they lost their patience and came out with a stinging statement against the Malaysian government's lack of transparency.

"It is absolutely understandable for the Chinese to express anger and even disgust."

He added that Beijing spent millions of dollars on a search of the South China Sea when the plane had turned the other way.

"Feeling angry is absolutely justified, especially with so many of its nationals on board."


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This article is now closed to comments

stop being an idiot u bigot.
only your ignorance dont lnow 70% of malaysia are muslims.
Not every act of terror are done in the name of islam. Go back to your bigot western world
It's no big secret. Everyone knows that Malaysia is predominantly Muslim. The focus is on a missing plane, not that the pilots are Muslim.
Kyle Hall
Not sure who came out first and originally with this theory, but --- per U.S. radio commentator Michael Savage --- he was musing about this about one week ago: that the Muslim pilots might be responsible for the plane's disappearance (and likely crash into the ocean with all lost).
In retaliation for China's treatment of Muslim Separatist Uighurs, who have been running around recently stabbing Han Chinese (SEE: Kunming, Changsha).
NOTHING --- that I recall --- of this theory in the mainstream media here in the U.S. As a matter of fact, NOTHING even about the pilots until 2 or 3 days ago.
And even today (March 17), NO mention --- apart from the obviousness of their names --- that they (the pilots) are Muslim.
The focus was on the 2 "fake passports" until just 2 or 3 days ago, and now, all of a sudden, we're finding out that ... all the plane's communications systems were deliberately turned off, and the jetliner flew WAY off course for 3, 4, 5 hours ... to the Indian Ocean. With mainly Chinese ... 230+ Chinese ... on board. All now dead.
But one must tread softly, softly ... musn't mention ANYTHING in the public press about "Muslim". It's all a big, big secret.
Under which stone have you been lately? I dare to say that 90% of all terror attacks are Muslim/Islam related!
dont be silly. 9/11 was mossad.
This article is another sign of irresponsible journalism that is trying to drag domestic politics into the fray without verification. The Malaysian government nor any of its media organs have never released statements implicating Anwar because they know it will eventually backfire. The ones who first started this trend is no less than the lousy Daily Mail who not only implicated the pilots because they are Muslims but proceeded to drag Anwar and even started to spin news about the family members of the pilots. Speculations must be put aside and wait for the plane to found or clues to emerge.
Can the snake oil sleazoid do better than his ex bosses?
BTW, both are from Penang. It is hard to believe that he did not know the captain personally since the captain is no ordinary supporter - he is a senior pilot with MAS and a community leader of sorts.
Could they have collaborated to make the M'sian govt look really bad in the face of international pressure?
I think so far, no news is good news and there is a sliver of hope that all on board are still alive.......
His first thought was most likely "well bugger me" .... Inshallah ....
Top politician? No, more like a bottom politician...


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