KUALA LUMPUR – Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister and one of the most influential figures in Malaysia’s ruling party, has said information about flight MH370 is being hidden and the Australian-led search for the plane off Western Australia is a waste of time and money.
The plane’s disappearance on March 8 was most likely not an ordinary crash after fuel was exhausted, he said. “The plane is somewhere, maybe without MAS [Malaysia Airlines] markings,” he said. “It is a waste of time and money to look for debris or oil slick or to listen for pings from the black box,” he said.
Dr Mahathir, 88, who was prime minister for 22 years from 1981, wrote in his personal blog that he could not imagine that the pilots made a soft landing in rough seas and then quietly went down with the aircraft. “Someone is hiding something. It is not fair that MAS and Malaysia should take the blame,” he wrote.
He believed that the Central Intelligence Agency of the US had knowledge of the disappearance of the plane with 239 people on board but was not sharing it with Malaysia. Boeing, the plane’s maker, and certain government agencies, have the ability to remotely take over control of commercial airliners such as the missing Boeing 777, he said.
“For some reason, the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA,” he said. In another blog last month, Dr Mahathir, who remains a power broker in the ruling United Malays National Organisation, questioned whether the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean and blamed Boeing for its disappearance.
His comments on MH370 reflect deep suspicion in Malaysia of foreign involvement in the plane’s disappearance despite Prime Minister Najib Razak saying last week that nobody knew what happened on board, or precisely where the plane was, more than two months after it disappeared.
Najib said experts had identified that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, where the search was focused, discounting dozens of other theories and reported sightings. But Dr Mahathir also wrote that the planes don’t just disappear in presence of all powerful communications systems.