MH370 pilot’s sister speaks out
THE sister of the pilot of doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has addressed longstanding rumours surrounding him having an affair.
As the search for the plane ends tomorrow, Sakinab Shah has spoken out about her younger brother's Zaharie Shah marriage and reported affair with a married staffer from Anwar Ibrahim's People's Justice Party (PKR).
She dismissed suggestions the 56-year-old hijacked the plane to kill himself and the 238 others on board in despair at the end of either relationship as "preposterous".
Her comments come as the Malaysian Government's search draws to a close tomorrow, with their 90-day "no find, no fee" deal with US underwater technology company Ocean Infinity ending and no further expeditions planned.
Ms Shah said she could not forgive the Malaysian air force for failing to act at the first sign the passenger plane had veered off course on March 8, 2014.
But she welcomed news revealed in The Weekend Australian that the Malaysian prime minister-in-waiting would review all domestic failures and discrepancies in the hours and weeks after the plane disappeared, and continue the search if internal investigations into those failures warrant it.
The Malaysian air force has been questioned for not sending a jet up to follow the plane as it went off course.
"Everyone's wish is that they find the wreckage. If that is not possible, the next-best thing is that they bring everyone (who failed to act) to book; the air force, the former defence minister," Ms Shah told The Australian.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigators last week hit back at reports they ruled out MH370 being purposely hijacked and ditched by the pilot.
The Ocean Infinity search comes after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless $200 million search across a 120,000sq km area in the Indian Ocean last year, despite investigators calling for the target area to be extended 25,000sq km north.
Several aviation experts believe Zaharie hijacked the plane, depressurised it to kill everyone else on board while using the pilot's long oxygen supply and continued to fly it before ditching it.
That theory would put the wreckage a long distance from where the current crew is searching off the West Australian coast.
Ms Shah said rumours her brother planned the crash had devastated her family.
Zaharie and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid were initially named by Malaysian authorities as suspects in the aircraft's disappearance, but were exonerated.
Fatima Pardi, a worker with the PKR party, told The Australian in September 2016 she met Zaharie when he joined the party and began attending political events ahead of the 2013 election.
The relationship ended a few months before the plane went missing, but she claimed to have received a call from Zaharie on the night his plane disappeared.
Ms Shah said her brother and his wife, Faizah, had "normal" marital problems and that although Ms Pardi had contacted her after the plane went missing, she was one of several of her brother's female friends she had met over the years.
"Honestly I have met many, many other friends of his. A lot of times I gave him a telling-off about this. It was never anything serious," she said.
"Being a pilot, life is a lot of fun. He loved life, this guy.
"He was naughty, I admit that, but at the end of the day he always went home.
"He took care of his wife."
The Australian Government has not issued any statement about the current search ending, referring inquiries to the Malaysian Government.