Hishammuddin: Abbot’s claim unfair, all possibilities were considered during MH370 search

Hishammuddin said his priority had always been to act transparently, releasing corroborated developments and establishing what actually happened. Source (pic): TTF Files

هشام الدين: دعوأن اببوت تيدق عاديل، سموا كموڠكينن دڤرتيمبڠ دالم ڤنچرين مه370

Ex-minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein asserted today that investigators had looked into every single lead and possibility surrounding the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, including speculations of a mass murder and suicide bid by its pilot.

He was responding to former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot who claimed in an interview earlier today that he had been told by senior Malaysian government officials within a week of MH370’s disappearance that pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was the person responsible.

MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8, 2014, when it vanished from the radars while over the Andaman Sea, with all 239 people on board, including 50 Malaysian passengers.

Underwater searches for the plane in the Indian Ocean have covered 120,000 square kilometres and cost about A$200 million was subsequently suspended indefinitely in January 2017 until Malaysia accepted a “no-cure, no-fee” offer from US exploration firm Ocean Infinity in 2018.


KUALA LUMPUR: Ex-minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein asserted today that investigators had looked into every single lead and possibility surrounding the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, including speculations of a mass murder and suicide bid by its pilot.

The former defence minister was also acting transport minister in 2014 when the Malaysian jet disappeared into thin air and said that it would be unfair, irresponsible and insensitive to now publicise anything that had not been previously corroborated in investigations to the families of those aboard MH370.




He was responding to former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot who claimed in an interview earlier today that he had been told by senior Malaysian government officials within a week of MH370’s disappearance that pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was the person responsible.

Hishammuddin said his priority had always been to act transparently, releasing corroborated developments and establishing what actually happened.

“Over the course of the investigation, new information and leads surfaced on a constant basis and I have always maintained consistently then that all information needed to be properly verified and all evidence corroborated before further action was taken.

“In the best interest of the public, I had also shared timely updates on the investigation especially during my daily media briefings and interviews,” he said in a statement.

Hishammuddin however said, towards the end of his tenure as acting transport minister, the investigation team did not report any conclusive answers on the exact cause of the missing plane to him.

“Therefore, I repeat my plea again as I have done previously — to anyone who has any relevant information on this incident which may assist in the investigation to immediately provide it to the relevant authorities for further action,” he said.

Hishammuddin also said not a day passed that he has not prayed for a swift closure to the tragedy and for truth to prevail.

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MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8, 2014, when it vanished from the radars while over the Andaman Sea, with all 239 people on board, including 50 Malaysian passengers.

Hishammuddin’s cousin, Datuk Seri Najib Razak also weighed in on Abbott’s remarks and issued a warning to all against blaming the pilot without conclusive supporting evidence.

The former prime minister said until the plane’s black box and cockpit recorder was found, no definite proof could be disputed on whether the pilot was responsible or not.

A black box is an electronic recording device that preserves the recent history of an aircraft and consists of two elements — Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR).

Earlier today Australian portal news.com.au quoted Abbott as telling a documentary that the “highest levels” of Putrajaya allegedly told him within a week of its disappearance in 2014 that Zaharie was responsible.

“My understanding — my very clear understanding — from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here they thought it was a murder-suicide by the pilot,” Abbott was quoted saying.

Underwater searches for the plane in the Indian Ocean have covered 120,000 square kilometres and cost about A$200 million was subsequently suspended indefinitely in January 2017 until Malaysia accepted a “no-cure, no-fee” offer from US exploration firm Ocean Infinity in 2018.

The three-month search covered 112,000 sq km north of the original target area, without any new discovery when it was called off in May 2018.

Zaharie has also been blamed by several official inquiries probing into the incident, which have also failed to provide any technical explanation for the disappearance.

An official 495-page report in July 2018 stated that MH370 was deliberately taken off course by a person or persons unknown.

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