Defence minister denies Malaysia scrambled fighter jets after MH370 plane vanished

The Malay Mail Online
April 11, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Malaysia did not deploy any military aircraft to chase down Flight MH370 after the Beijing-bound passenger plane went off civilian radars on March 8, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein posted on Twitter.

The denial was first tweeted by Hishammuddin’s communications team late last night, in response to a news report broadcast on US network CNN that cited an unnamed senior government official saying Royal Malaysian Air Force fighter (RMAF) jets were scrambled at about 8am on March 8, shortly after the Malaysia Airlines jet was reported missing.

“Latest from @CNN claiming that Msian Air Force aircraft scrambled soon after @MAS reported #MH370 missing early 8/3 is a false allegation,” Hishammuddin’s communication team posted on its official Twitter account, @H2OComms) at 10.29pm.

Hishammuddin, who is also acting defence minister and has been the country’s official face in charge of the search, later retweeted the message on his official Twitter account, @HishammuddinH2O.

In a news programme yesterday, CNN cited an unnamed senior government official involved in the search for MH370 saying RMAF had mounted a hunt even before authorities were able to corroborate the Boeing 777-200ER had made a turn back over the Malay Peninsula.

According to the source, RMAF had only informed the Department of Civil Aviation of this deployment three days later, on March 11.

CNN also reported the source relaying that the final message from MH370 to air traffic controllers, “Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero” was uttered by pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and not co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid as previously said.

According to the source, the verification was made after police played the recording to five other Malaysia Airlines pilots who knew the pilot and co-pilot.

Flight MH370 left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41am on March 8, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew on board, and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30am the same day.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane over the South China Sea, some 120km off the coast of Kelantan, just as it was to enter Vietnamese air space.

Malaysia Airlines sounded the alarm after the plane failed to arrive at its scheduled destination, triggering a search first in the South China Sea before investigations showed the plane had turned back west and headed out to the Indian Ocean.

Australia is now leading a multination hunt for the plane where satellite data last tracked its signal before it disappeared entirely.

  1. #1 by Justice Ipsofacto on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 9:17 am

    Is there anything kerismuddin bin lembuddin is hiding from all of us?

  2. #2 by 1elderly voter on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 9:21 am

    Scrambling 10 jets at 2am will be money well spent; scrambling even 1 jet at 8am (when MH370 is already in the Indian Ocean) is not only a waste of tax-payers’ money but shows the foolishness of our leaders. MOD@H2O is well to have denied the scrambling of the jet at 8am. The ball is now at the feet of the head of RMAF. Is he the foolish one.

  3. #3 by undertaker888 on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 9:49 am

    With all the fancy gadgets bought at fancy price, our airspace is protected only from 9am-5pm. Any other time don’t kacau me.

  4. #4 by Godfather on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 10:07 am

    Which is worse: RMAF sleeping through the night, or RMAF scrambling jets to track “unknown” radar blip 7 hours AFTER the turn-around of Flight 370 ? And then too embarrassed to tell anyone about it ?

  5. #5 by undertaker888 on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 10:28 am

    Kerismudin wouldn’t dare to say the airfarce were looking for the fighter jet engines until 7am?

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 11:00 am

    Aaaah, how d KRIS felo wished 2 get hold of dis “unnamed senior government official involved in the search for MH370” who leaked d info 2 d world
    Kris n OSA will be mercilessly upon d unnamed senior gomen official

  7. #7 by pulama on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 12:10 pm

    ///“Latest from @CNN claiming that Msian Air Force aircraft scrambled soon after @MAS reported #MH370 missing early 8/3 is a false allegation,”///

    Why did he say “false”? Because no scramble of aircraft. Armed Forces chief reportedly said that ships were sent out immediately from Lumut, not aircraft. Only few hours later, one aircraft was sent out.

    from article by Mariam Mokhtar, 21 March 2014 on Free Malaysia Today “Where was the RMAF when MH370 disappeared?”

    ///the chief of the armed forces, Zulkifeli Mohd Zin . . . “We sent some ships immediately from Lumut that particular night to where we suspected that aircraft would be. That morning at first light, we sent a C-130 (aircraft) immediately to scout the area. It is a possibility (that MH370 is there) and at the slightest possibility, I must respond for the sake of the passengers on MH370.” Zulkifeli’s remarks seem to suggest that he thought an aircraft had come down somewhere in the Strait of Malacca, and yet, Najib Tun Razak had directed the search and rescue (SAR) mission to be conducted in the Gulf of Thailand.///

  8. #8 by waterfrontcoolie on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 12:50 pm

    HA! hA! aH! We have really turned ourselves INSIDE-OUT! Haven’t the nation suffered enough embarrassment as well as sadness over the issue?

  9. #9 by carlod on Friday, 11 April 2014 - 12:54 pm

    Some people having problem to process information .
    1. Last communication ard 1:30am, left Malaysian airspace into Vietnam ( but made air turn back soon after ) . It was out of Malaysian ATC radar
    2. Later around 2:40 am no contact was made with Vietnam ATC. By this time , MH370 is already over Andaman Sea or further – just entering Indian Ocean
    3. All were looking at different place ie gulf of Siam, South China Sea , Vietnam, China & Malaysian airspace . Zilch!!
    4. If we scrambled jet fighter, where would they go? Where exactly? MH was probably crossing Andaman Islands into Indian Ocean . And we do not know that.
    5. Although secondary radar detects, just like any other commercial airline, it did not provide aircraft details. It’s just another commercial plane to the military radar . And it is not the scope of military radar to identify whether the aircraft is on scheduled flight path.

  10. #10 by john on Saturday, 12 April 2014 - 1:01 am

    Really got thick-skin like “jamban”, know NO-SHAME even got caught with pants down, will keep on deny, deny, deny.
    Then, some clowns will open loud mouth, said real stupid remarks
    ( no, statements made in parliament ! ) and when realized being so stupid, quickly said ” oh, is mine own statements “.
    Another, was the one got real ” SLAPPED ” by Interpol but, now still got the thick-face to remain like never happened at all.
    They are so disgraceful especially in the capacity of government officials and brought real shame to this Nation.

  11. #11 by pulau_sibu on Saturday, 12 April 2014 - 6:45 am

    haha, may be the engines went missing and could not scramble.

    we better find out how often does foreign unknown aircraft intrude our air space

  12. #12 by Cinapek on Sunday, 13 April 2014 - 12:04 pm

    Honestly if this statement is true then we really have idiotic officials at the highest levels. Idiotic for dereliction of duty and compound that with hiding a critical piece of info and only reveal it much later in a futile attempt to cover up their incompetence when they were castigated for their gross negligence and dereliction of duty.

    But CNN’s allegations cannot be simply dismissed as untrue because the other piece of report from CNN about the final voice communication as coming from the pilot and not the co pilot, which contradicted MAS’s version, was later proven to be correct.

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