MH370 The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) did not intercept Flight MH370 when it was detected on military radar off the Straits of Malacca on March 8 due to the "assumption" that the flight had been ordered to turn back by the civil aviation control tower.
Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said the aircraft, which was not immediately identified as Flight MH370 when it was last detected on the military radar at 2.40am, was categorised as "non-hostile".
"We felt the turn-back was by a friendly aircraft and the directive had come from the control tower," he said when winding up on points raised on his ministry during the debate on the royal address.
However, Abdul Rahim stressed that conclusive answers will only be available when the debris from the plane is found.
“We noticed that the plane was heading towards the Straits of Malacca or the Andaman Sea. So we informed the task force responsible (for investigations) the next day,” he said.
He also said that revealing the information to the public would have “involved national security”.
He was replying Mohd Imran Abdul Hamid (PKR-Lumut) during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Later at the afternoon press conference, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, when asked whether the RMAF had not reacted to the MH370 turn-back because it thought the airport control tower had ordered it, said that he cannot confirm his deputy’s answer in Parliament was correct.