- (Photo: Screen Grab via CNN)
Former Malaysian prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad accused America's Central Intelligence Agency of withholding information on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which has been missing for more than two months.
"It is a waste of time and money to look for debris or oil slick or to listen for 'pings' from the black box," Sydney Morning Herald quotes Mahathir as saying on his personal blog. "This is most likely not an ordinary crash after fuel was exhausted. The plane is somewhere, maybe without MAS (Malaysia Airlines) markings."
Someone is hiding something, added Mahathir, who is known for his anti-West stand. "It is not fair that MAS and Malaysia should take the blame. … They can land safely or they may crash, but airplanes do not just disappear. Certainly not these days with all the powerful communication systems which operate almost indefinitely and possess huge storage capacities."
Mahathir, who is from the ruling party, also questions Boeing about the satellite tracking data on the plane. "MH370 is a Boeing 777 aircraft. It was built and equipped by Boeing, hence all the communications and GPS equipment must have been installed by Boeing. If they failed or have been disabled, Boeing must know how it can be done and surely Boeing would ensure that they cannot be easily disabled as they are vital to the safety and operation of the plane," he wrote.
"For some reason, the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA," he noted, questioning, "Can it not be that the pilots of MH370 lost control of their aircraft after someone directly or remotely activated the equipment for seizure of control of the aircraft?"
It is believed that the plane veered far off course while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Flight MH370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board, including the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, lost contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.
The plane was carrying people from 14 countries and territories: 152 from China; 38 from Malaysia; seven from Indonesia; six from Australia; five from India; three each from France and the United States; two each from New Zealand, Ukraine and Canada; and one each from Russia, Italy, Taiwan, Netherlands and Austria, according to Malaysia Airlines.
An air and seabed search has failed to locate any trace of the wreckage, and the search entered into a new phase this month over a vastly expanded seabed search area covering about 37,282 square miles.
Last month, investigative sources said the co-pilot of the plane tried to make a "desperate call" with his mobile phone after the jetliner was diverted from its scheduled route. Investigators have also said that someone with detailed knowledge of the plane turned off its communications systems before diverting it off its scheduled course.