Malaysian government denies scrambling jets to chase down MH370

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (Center) speaks during a press conference on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur on April 7, 2014. Military aircraft were not deployed to chase down Malaysia Airlines fligh
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (Center) speaks during a press conference on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur on April 7, 2014. Military aircraft were not deployed to chase down Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 when the plane went missing on the morning of March 8, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. FILE PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Military aircraft were not deployed to chase down Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 when the plane went missing on the morning of March 8, says Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Mr Hishammuddin's communications team had moved swiftly late Thursday night to deny a CNN report which cited an unnamed senior government official as claiming that Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) fighter jets were scrambled at around 8am on March 8 to track down MH370.

"Latest from @CNN Claiming that Msian Air Force aircraft scrambled soon after @MAS reported #MH370 missing early 8/3 is a false allegation," Mr Hishammuddin's communications team tweeted.

Mr Hishammuddin, who is also Acting Transport Minister, later retweeted the post on his official Twitter account, @HishammuddinH20.

On Friday, in another tweet, @H20Comms also refuted CNN's claim that the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation was not informed of the deployment of fighter jets till three days later.

"Also claim by @CNN that Msian Air Force scrambled and did not inform @DCA_Malaysia or SAR ops until 3 days later, 11/3 is also untrue," it said.

Mr Hishammuddin immediately retweeted the statement.

The search for the missing Boeing 777 continues on Friday with Australia now leading a multinational search in the southern Indian Ocean.