Former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein has dismissed an article by notable American aviation writer William Langewiesche, who accused the Malaysian police of withholding information pertaining to the 2014 disappearance of Flight MH370.
Hishammuddin, who was at that time the government spokesperson for the MH370 investigation, said Langewiesche’s claims were an attempt to capitalise on the issue.
He also said the claims would easily be disproved - but he passed the buck to the new Pakatan Harapan government to dispel Langewiesche’s accusations.
“Old news by someone who wants to capitalise on it. We should not give mileage to him.
“Not sure what his motives are, but the authorities can easily prove him wrong. You should contact them,” Hishammuddin was reported as saying by The Malay Mail today.
Langewiesche (photo, below), in his article published online in the July issue of American magazine The Atlantic, accused the Malaysian police of withholding details about the MH370 pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
He resurfaced the theory that Zaharie murdered all 238 passengers and crew, before intentionally crashing the plane into the ocean.
Langewiesche claimed that the Malaysian authorities, under the then BN-led government, hid pertinent information to hide their own ineptitude and inefficiency during the early days of the incident.
This was followed by his claim that Malaysian police hid facts on Zaharie, following background checks conducted, after allegedly discovering “aspects of Zaharie’s life that should have caused them to dig more deeply”.
Asked about Langewiesche’s allegations at a press conference in Bukit Aman today, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Mazlan Mansor declined to address them.
“I do not want to talk about MH370 because investigations were done and continue to be done.
“Details of the investigation should not be discussed openly, that is all,” he said.
Pressed that the public had a right to know what happened, he passed the buck to the MH370 High-Level Technical Task Force.
“When the time comes, we will inform (the people).
“The police are not the only ones involved in the investigation. The taskforce investigating MH370 involved several ministries as well.
“I believe it is better if these questions were put the taskforce instead,” Mazlan said.
'Important answers in Malaysia'
Langewiesche further wrote: “The important answers probably don’t lie in the ocean, but on land, in Malaysia. That should be the focus moving forward. Unless they are as incompetent as the air force and air traffic control, the Malaysian police know more than they have dared to say.”
However, the writer did not substantiate these claims, but used them to further his claim on the alleged culpability of the pilot (Zaharie, photo below) in the air crash.
This, despite the report released by the Safety Investigation Report on MH370 last July, which indicated “nothing negative” about the pilot.
The Malaysian ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) Annex 13 Safety Investigation team, which also comprised international experts, had also denied hiding key facts in its 499-page report.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared, along with 227 passengers and 12 crew members, in the early morning of March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The flight had mysteriously terminated communications and deviated from its flight path before disappearing.
It has never been found and remains one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries, despite several multi-national searches, first in the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca, and a second more extensive Australia-led search in what is known as the “seventh arc” in the southern Indian Ocean.
To date, only several pieces of debris from the plane have been discovered washed ashore, including the Boeing 777-200ER wing fragments.
In May last year, Malaysia called off a three-month “no cure, no fee” search by US firm Ocean Infinity.
Additional reporting by ANNABELLE LEE.