Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim: Malaysia 'Concealing Information' on MH370

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim: Malaysia 'Concealing Information' on MH370

Operations to find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have turned up few leads, and impatience with search operations continues to surface. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has been embroiled in the missing plane saga, accused the government of not being forthcoming with critical information.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Ibrahim insisted that “the government knows more than us” because Malaysia has “one of the most sophisticated radar” systems in the world–one that Ibrahim personally authorized when he was in power as Finance Minister of the country. “They are privy to most of these missing bits of information critical to our understanding of this mysterious disappearance of MH370,” he told the newspaper. At “the least,” the plane is still missing because of “incompetence,” according to the controversial opposition leader. Anwar added that the families of those on board the flight that had taken to protesting the Malaysian government were correct in feeling frustrated by the search.

“Pieces of information critical to our understanding are still missing,” he noted. Asked what he believed happened, Ibrahim added in the interview that “the realm of possibilities is so vague, I mean, anything can have happened”, adding: “Whether they (the authorities) are complicit in a terrorist act, I’m not in a position to comment.”

In a separate interview with the UK’s Sky News, Ibrahim made similar claims. Noting that the situation was “unprecedented” and he did not “want to undermine the importance of these operations,” he attacked the Malaysian government’s inability to protect themselves from a “threat to national security.” “The system is opaque,” he noted, “in the sense that they are used to a very compliant media.” With international media on the scene, the government is having a more difficult time dealing with the investigation, he argued.

Anwar noted that he had been accused in the Malaysian legislature of “appeasing the Western media” for attacking the Malaysian government, but “this is no longer Western media–we’re not talking about Sky or the New York Times, we’re talking about Xinhua,” referencing the Chinese news agency.

Anwar’s role in the ongoing drama surrounding Flight 370’s disappearance continues to evolve. The burst of interviews with the opposition leader come as he is released on bail  while he appeals a five-year sentence on sodomy charges. Anwar personally knew pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and described him as a “decent” man when news surfaced of their relation and the fact that Zaharie was described by some outlets as a “fanatical” supporter of the opposition leader, leading some to question whether the pilot himself had downed the plane a day after Anwar’s sodomy conviction came down from the court. 

Anwar’s particularly strident condemnation of the Malaysian government’s work, and the fact that he had been sentenced to jail time the day before the plane disappeared, also bring into question his personal biases against the search given such speculation about Zaharie.

Politics aside, the search for Flight 370 appears to have hit a stalemate. Four more civil jets joined the search for the plane in the southwestern Indian Ocean today, and equipment designed to find black boxes has also been used. The Wall Street Journal notes that underwater search mechanisms have also been deployed today, hoping to find any evidence of the area in which the plane crashed. The last debris sighting was by China of three objects matching the colors of the plane, but all were found to have been fishing gear unrelated to the plane.