Pilot of Flight 370 an 'obsessive supporter' of jailed opposition figure
The story about the missing Malaysian passenger plane that disappeared 9 days ago just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.
Police are investigating the possibility that the pilot of missing Flight MH370 hijacked his own aircraft in a bizarre political protest.
The Mail on Sunday has learned that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was an ‘obsessive’ supporter of Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. And hours before the doomed flight left Kuala Lumpur it is understood 53-year-old Shah attended a controversial trial in which Ibrahim was jailed for five years.
Campaigners say the politician, the key challenger to Malaysia’s ruling party, was the victim of a long-running smear campaign and had faced trumped-up charges.
Police sources have confirmed that Shah was a vocal political activist – and fear that the court decision left him profoundly upset. It was against this background that, seven hours later, he took control of a Boeing 777-200 bound for Beijing and carrying 238 passengers.
Yesterday, Malaysian police searched his house in the upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam, where he had installed a home-made flight simulator. But this newspaper can reveal that investigators had already spent much of last week examining two laptops removed from Shah’s home. One is believed to contain data from the simulator
Confirming rising fears, Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak announced yesterday that MH370 was deliberately steered off course after its communication system was switched off. He said it headed west over the Malaysian seaboard and could have flown for another seven hours on its fuel reserves.
It is not yet clear where the plane was taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have been making for one of two possible flight corridors. The search, involving 43 ships and 58 aircraft from 15 countries, switched from the South China Sea to the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.
In another dramatic twist early Sunday Indian officials however, said the search was on hold until 'fresh search areas' were defined by Malaysia. It is unclear what the reason was for the delay.
Data showing the number of plausible runways where the plane could have touched down - which need to be at least 5,000ft - offer a baffling number of potential locations.
The object of the pilot's obsession is considered to be a political moderate. He has said some kind things - and not so kind things - about Israel and the US so he's not a complete hater. However, B'nai B'rith asked the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to cease having contact with him for his "anti-Israel" views.
Where to place this theory on the whacky-o-meter? Unlikely, at best, but not completely loony tunes. If he took control of the plane, we may never know why because it's looking more likely that it crashed into the ocean. Unless a foreign government is assisting whoever has the plane, it's just not likely you could land and hide a 777. without the host government knowing about it.