Pilot accuses Malaysia of hiding MH370 facts

LINDSAY MURDOCH
Last updated 13:40 28/03/2014
MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Shah
PILOT: A still from a YouTube tribute for missing pilot Zaharie Hamad Shah.

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A senior Air Asia pilot has been suspended for suggesting in a Facebook post Malaysian authorities have been "hiding facts" about the disappearance of MH370.

"The supposed debris...isn't even confirmed to be from the plane yet! Show us the proof and then tell us MH370 has crashed," wrote the pilot from the Kuala Lumpur-based airline.

"Till then stop hiding the facts! It's obvious even to a blind man that there are tons of info the government definitely knows and isn't sharing yet!," he wrote.

Air Asia's chief executive officer Tony Fernandes tweeted that the senior first officer who he did not name had been suspended pending an investigation.

The suspension came as other Malaysian pilots rushed to defend the missing Malaysia Airlines' senior pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah who has been accused by unnamed sources quoted in international newspapers as being responsible for the plane's disappearance and deaths of all 239 people on board, including two New Zealanders.

"Everyone is innocent until proven guilty...I can fully vouch for them (all MH370 crew members), 100 per cent," said a senior Malaysia Airlines pilot, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another commercial pilot told the New Straits Times newspaper the media should not publish speculation.

"It's a big no no for the media to publish assumptions without firm evidence as this will not only affect family members of victims but also cause anxiety among the people," said the pilot, who also did not want his name published.

"The public's confidence in MAS (Malaysia Airlines) could deteriorate," he said.

"We need to find the flight data recorder or black box, to know the truth. They (the media) can publish speculations but doing so can unduly and negatively affect everyone's perception towards Malaysia and MAS."

Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya has also defended Zaharie, saying his record over more than 30 years with the company, flying 18,000 hours, was "exemplary."

"There are no records which are out of order," Ahmad Jauhari said.

Asked by a BBC reporter if Zaharie flew the plane into the sea, Ahmad Jauhari replied: "We don't know."

The pro-government New Straits Times in a news report said several news outlets have published articles alluding to the fact that 53 year-old Zaharie was the only person who could have pulled off the complicated manoeuvre leading to the crash.

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In an editorial it accused international media of snatching "every piece of possible hearsay and gossip to produce sensationalist copies thought to sell best, with a public driven to boredom and looking for gratuitous adrenaline rushes."

The editorial said that as a result Malaysia's leaders have had to pay a high price despite that a "small country was thrust into a maelstrom of unparalleled proportions, and and she has done well."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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