Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines flight 370

CIA may be withholding information about MH370, Malaysia's Mahathir says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 May, 2014, 11:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 May, 2014, 2:25pm

One of Malaysia's most powerful politicians has suggested America's Central Intelligence Agency may be withholding information about missing flight MH370, and said the continuing search is a "waste of time and money".

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is 88, also said too much blame had been placed on the Malaysian government and Malaysia Airlines.

"It is a waste of time and money to look for debris or oil slicks or listen for 'pings' from the black box," Mahathir wrote in a personal blog. "Someone is hiding something.

"It is not fair that MAS (Malaysia Airlines) and Malaysia should take the blame. For some reason the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA," he added.

The airline has come under intense scrutiny since the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared along with its 239 passengers and crew more than two months ago.

The Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed somewhere in the southern Indian ocean. But Mahathir said it might not have crashed into the ocean at all.

"This is most likely not an ordinary crash after fuel was exhausted. The plane is somewhere, maybe without MAS markings," Mahathir wrote.

He noted in another blog post on April 25 that MAS had a good flight record, well-trained pilots and "flew a plane fully expecting it to perform the task". Shifting the blame onto the aircraft maker, he wrote: "I would not like to fly in Boeing aircraft unless Boeing can explain how all its system can fail or be disabled."

The lack of answers about the flight's disappearance has infuriated family members of the 154 Chinese passengers on board. Relatives released a public letter yesterday asking search authorities to expand the search to land, improve communication with families, and speed up the compensation process.

The family members have staged protests outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, and Chinese tourists have boycotted Malaysia, a once-popular holiday destination.

Despite the tension, both countries have said that bilateral relations remain friendly. Two giant pandas from Chengdu are set to arrive in Malaysia tomorrow to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties.