PETALING JAYA: The wife of a steward onboard MH370 which went missing six years ago has lashed out at former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott for claiming that the pilot could have committed mass murder.
Jacquita Gonzales also questioned Abbott’s motive for making the claim at this time.
Abbott was reported as telling a Sky News documentary that he was told by the “highest levels” of Malaysian officials that the pilot might have committed murder-suicide.
The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 people – including Gonzales’ husband Patrick Gomes – vanished some 40 minutes after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, 2014.
Its disappearance is considered one of aviation’s biggest mysteries and culminated in the longest and most expensive search mission in history.
There have been several conspiracy theories on the plane’s disappearance, including one that claimed 53-year-old senior pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had deliberately steered the plane away from its normal route.
The “rogue pilot” theory was, however, rejected by Zaharie’s friends and fellow pilots.
Gonzales, however, is furious with Abbott for not revealing this earlier, arguing that it could have led to follow-up investigations.
“Who do we go after now? He had the opportunity to put the matter to rest when he was the prime minister, but he didn’t take it.
“I wish he could have said it earlier. It’s is very frustrating and it is unfair that he says it now,” she told FMT.
Gonzales added that if Abbott had gone on record earlier, the next-of-kin wouldn’t have to endure the pain which they go through at every anniversary of the missing flight.
She also said that Abbott’s revelation, six years after the incident, has made it very difficult to believe, especially as there is no evidence to support it.
“I don’t know what to say, with all the back and forth, it is so hard to accept (what Abbott is saying).”
She also said that Abbott’s remarks have given her the impression that high ranking government officials were in cahoots with each of them giving the next of kin “false information”.
“If it was indeed the pilot’s doing, why didn’t they just come out and say it? Were they afraid of hurting us?”
We explored every possibility, says Hishammuddin on MH370 ‘mass murder’ claim
FMT Reporters – February 19, 2020
PETALING JAYA: Former acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein says his ministry had explored every possible lead on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, including theories and speculations.
This comes after former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said he had been told by the “highest levels” of Malaysian officials that the pilot could have committed mass murder.
Hishammuddin said he had always prioritised transparency and giving confirmed updates in order to establish what truly happened.
“Over the course of the investigation, new information and leads surfaced on a constant basis.
“I have always maintained that all the information needed to be properly verified and all evidence corroborated before further action could be taken.
“Revealing anything which has not been corroborated would have affected the ongoing investigations and would be unfair to the families of the passengers and the general public,” he said in a statement today.
He said giving out any information prematurely without confirmation would have been irresponsible and insensitive, adding that the investigation team did not report any definitive findings on the cause of the missing plane.
“A day has not passed that I have not prayed for a swift closure to this tragedy and for the truth to prevail.”
Najib: Probe zoomed in on MH370 pilot’s ‘opposition links’
Published: 4:42 pm | Modified: 7:26 pm
- Updated with Hishammuddin Hussein’s comments
Investigators did not rule out criminal elements in the disappearance of flight MH370, said former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
He said investigators had also looked into pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s political leanings but did not make this public.
“It would have been deemed unfair and legally irresponsible since the black boxes and cockpit voice recorders had not been found and hence, there was no conclusive proof whether the pilot was solely or jointly responsible,” Najib was quoted as saying by FMT.
He was responding to remarks by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot, who said that Putrajaya had believed the flight went missing as a result of murder-suicide.
“I must stress that this possible scenario was never ruled out during the search effort and investigations, where no effort was spared,” Najib said.
Speaking on Zaharie, the former premier said the pilot was a “known active opposition party member who had attended various political activities and the opposition leader had admitted later that the pilot was related to him.”
Although Najib did not mention names, this was a clear reference to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim who admitted that Zaharie was related to his in-laws. The pilot was also a PKR member.
Meanwhile, Najib said a political party cannot be blamed if the pilot had committed mass murder.
“But it cannot be disputed that their political propaganda machinery and messages at that time were very effective, to the point that many Malaysians were misled and radicalised to the point of fanaticism.
“The mass rallies attended by hundreds of thousands of people after the general election in the previous year before the plane went missing, who believed the malicious and false claims of the opposition party then that there were 40,000 phantom voters and mass blackout during the polling day, is proof of such fanaticism.
“Such claims have since been proven to be outright lies by the then opposition and yet many were absolutely convinced at that time,” he added.
On why authorities suspected Zaharie (below), Najib said there were several reasons including that the plane’s transponders were switched off as it was about to enter Vietnam’s airspace.
“This suggests that whoever was responsible had intimate knowledge of commercial flights,” he added.
Najib said investigators also took into account Zaharie’s emotional state, as well as the fact that he had a flight simulator in his house.
Separately, Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein – who was defence minister and acting transport minister during the crisis – reiterated that all new information and leads on MH370 should be verified and corroborated before further action is taken.
To do otherwise would be irresponsible, he said.
“In the best interest of the public, I had also shared timely updates on the investigation, especially during my daily media briefings and interviews. Being transparent, releasing corroborated developments, and establishing what actually happened had always been my priority.
“Revealing anything which has not been corroborated would have affected the ongoing investigations and would be unfair to the families of the passengers onboard MH370 and the general public.
“It would have been an irresponsible and insensitive thing to do,” he said in a statement today.
There were 38 Australians on MH 370.
Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 10:07 AM MYT
BY ZURAIRI AR
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The Australian state of Queensland said today it is looking into a potential inquest into the disappearance of Flight MH370.
Sydney-based Sky News Australia quoted its premier Annastacia Palaszczuk as saying she will approach its state attorney general for an inquest on the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight.
“It’s obviously a big issue and of course there were a lot of families right across Australia that were deeply impacted,” she reportedly said.
“If the attorney general, our government, can help in any way, we would be more than happy to do so.”
Earlier today, Australia’s former prime minister Tony Abbott was reported claiming that the Malaysian government had “very early on” believed that the tragic MH370 disappearance was part of what is now an old and unproven theory of mass murder-suicide plot.
News Corp quoted Abbott as telling a documentary that the “highest levels” of Putrajaya allegedly told him within a week of its disappearance in 2014 that Malaysia Airlines pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was responsible.
Abbott was the prime minister during the MH370 tragedy. Six Australians were among the passengers of the doomed flight.
Abbott’s Malaysian counterpart at that time was Datuk Seri Najib Razak, with Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai as his transport minister. Both were from Barisan Nasional, that was shockingly defeated by Pakatan Harapan in the 2018 general election amid accusations of graft and abuse of power.
Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared on March 8, 2014 with all 239 people on board.
MH370 was ‘almost certainly’ a murder-suicide plot based on never-released evidence, ex Aussie PM Tony Abbott says
- Les Steed
- Feb 18 2020, 14:34 ET
AUSTRALIAN ex-prime minister Tony Abbott has said that the “highest levels” of the Malaysian government believed from “very early on” that the MH370 disaster was a murder-suicide.
He said it was made “crystal clear” to him within a week of the infamous disappearance that the aircraft was almost certainly deliberately downed by the pilot.
Abbott was PM when the plane disappeared over the South China Sea in 2014.
He told Sky: “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.
“I’m not going to say who said what to whom, but let me reiterate – I want to be absolutely crystal clear – it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder-suicide by the pilot. A mass murder-suicide by the pilot.”
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was carrying 239 people including six Australians when it disappeared about 40 minutes into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 2014.
The pilot in command was 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who was one of the airline’s most senior captains.
MH370 – WHAT HAPPENED?
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Passengers included Chinese calligraphers, a couple on their way home to their young sons after a long-delayed honeymoon and a construction worker who hadn’t been home in a year.
But at 12.14am on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines lost contact with MH370 close to Phuket island in the Strait of Malacca.
Before that, Malaysian authorities believe the last words heard from the plane, from either the pilot or co-pilot, was “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.
Satellite “pings” from the aircraft suggest it continued flying for around seven hours when the fuel would have run out.
Experts have calculated the most likely crash site around 1,000 miles west of Perth, Australia.
But a huge search of the seabed failed to find any wreckage – and there are a number of alternative theories as to its fate.
There was heavy suspicion from the outset after Mr Shah’s chilling final call to air traffic control was “Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero.” before dropping off radar at 1:21am.
The Malaysian government’s official report said there was no evidence the “competent” Zaharie had hijacked his own aircraft.
But Mr Abbott said officials suspiciously never mentioned any alternative theories to him.
Malaysia suspected MH370 downed in murder-suicide: Aussie ex-PM Abbott
[SYDNEY] Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed “very top” level Malaysian officials believed vanished Flight MH370 was deliberated downed by the captain in a mass murder-suicide.
The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished on March 8, 2014 carrying 239 people – mostly from China – en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000-sq km Indian Ocean search zone and the Australian-led search, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January 2017.
A US exploration firm launched a private hunt in 2018 but it ended after several months of scouring the seabed without success.
The disappearance of the plane has long been the subject of a host of theories – ranging from the credible to outlandish – including that veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had gone rogue.
In an excerpt from a Sky News documentary airing on Wednesday, Mr Abbott claims he was told within a week of it vanishing that Malaysia believed the captain had intentionally downed the jet.
“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 murder-suicide by the pilot,” he said.
“I’m not going to say who said what to whom but let me reiterate, I want to be absolutely crystal clear, it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder-suicide by the pilot – mass murder-suicide by the pilot.”
Zaharie’s family and friends have long strongly rejected such claims as baseless.
In 2016, Malaysian officials revealed he had plotted a path over the Indian Ocean on a home flight simulator but stressed this did not prove he deliberately crashed the plane.
A final report into the tragedy released in 2018 pointed to failings by air traffic control and said the course of the plane was changed manually.
But they failed to come up with any firm conclusions, leaving relatives angry and disappointed.
Six passengers were Australian, including four from Queensland state, where Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week suggested authorities may pursue an inquest into their deaths.
Kit Siang tells former BN govt to ‘speak up’ following Abbott’s reveal on MH370
Wednesday, 19 Feb 2020 10:39 AM MYT
BY JERRY CHOONG
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has urged the “highest levels” of the former Barisan Nasional (BN) government today to counter the allegation made by former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott on the disappearance of Flight MH370.
The Iskandar Puteri MP also suggested for an international commission of inquiry into the tragedy, following a claim that Malaysian government had initially viewed the incident as a mass murder-suicide plot.
“The ‘highest levels’ of the former Malaysian government who believed from ‘very early on’ that the MH370 tragedy was a murder-suicide plot must now speak up,” Lim said in a statement.
He also said that the world will be waiting for the two-part documentary in which Abbott was quoted, and added the claims will likely come as a shock to both Malaysians and Australians.
“It would appear an international commission of inquiry into the MH370 disappearance would be necessary as a result of Abbot’s revelations.”