The Malay Mail Online
March 16, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Malaysia repeatedly rejected Interpol’s offers to help investigate Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 even as the government now believes the plane went missing due to “deliberate action”, a Western law enforcement agent has alleged.
Speaking to ABC News in the United States, the official who went unnamed accused Malaysia of jealously guarding its information to the point of turning away the aid offered by the intergovernmental police agency.
“It’s the old pre-9/11 approach: close-hold information, don’t share anything,” the anonymous official was quoted as saying by ABC News on its website yesterday, referring to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
ABC News quoted other unidentified law enforcement officials who expressed concern that the alleged refusal by Malaysia to take up Interpol’s offer may have caused leads into the mysterious disappearance of MH370 to grow cold.
The allegations raised the ABC News report that Malaysia was unwilling to share information appeared at odds, however, with Putrajaya’s action in releasing highly-confidential raw data from its military radars to countries assisting in the search, including China and the US.
Such data is often among a country’s most closely-guarded secrets as it can be used to ascertain its defensive strengths and vulnerabilities; no country willingly divulges such information if it can be avoided.
“As I am sure you can understand, we would not ordinarily release raw data from our military radars. But in this case we have put the search effort above our national security,” Acting Transport and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement on Thursday.
“Malaysia has nothing to hide … From day one, we have been in regular contact with neighbouring countries, and accepted all international offers of help,” he added.
Yesterday, Malaysian investigators appeared to conclude that the Beijing-bound flight with 239 onboard went missing due to a hijacking.
At a hastily-convened press conference after the news trickled out, however, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the plane was diverted due to “deliberate action” but stopped short of saying it was hijacked.
Najib also dropped another bombshell when he revealed that the final satellite communication with the plane occurred at 8.11am on March 8, indicating it continued flying after its transponder disabled and the engine performance data link with MAS was severed more than seven hours before.
It was also confirmed that military radar definitively tracked MH370 as it changed course and headed west towards the Indian Ocean.
Shortly after the PM’s announcement, police arrived at the Shah Alam, Selangor home of MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, which they proceeded to search.
Prior to the prime minister’s confirmation of foul play, aviation experts were increasingly concluding that MH370’s disappearance was the result of internal sabotage or hijacking by parties familiar with both the internal workings of the Boeing 777-200ER and air travel waypoints to minimise exposure to radar stations.
Interpol was partially involved in the first days of the investigation of MH370, when it was revealed that at least two people boarded the flight using stolen passports.
But it was later determined that the two Iranians — Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza — had used passports stolen from Europeans to smuggle themselves into the continent.
After their identities were established, Interpol said it was leaning towards either people smuggling or human trafficking in both cases.
“The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it (MH370) was not a terrorist incident,” Ronald K. Noble, head of Interpol, told reporters in Paris on Tuesday.
Despite its efforts so far, Malaysia has come in repeatedly for criticism over its handling of the MH370 search and investigation, most frequently being labelled slow and disorganised.