Missing MH370: PKR rubbishes Daily Mail's claim of pilot's opposition link

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders have dismissed a British tabloid report which claimed Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is a "political fanatic".

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said the Daily Mail report was "wild allegations" and the paper "is a sensationalist tabloid known for cooking up stories."

The tabloid claimed that Mr Zaharie commanded the doomed flight about several hours after he had attended the sodomy trial of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Friday.

"These allegations are wild speculation for the moment," Mr Fahmi said.

"If there is any concrete data backing up an allegation we will respond to it. If anyone aboard (the flight) chose to attend the Anwar trial that is their right as it was in open court.

"We do not want this to be used by unscrupulous parties as an avenue to attack PKR or Pakatan Rakyat component parties," he told The Star Online.

Mr Fahmi hoped that the federal government would not use the opportunity to "label" Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

Asked if Mr Zaharie was often seen at functions organised by PKR or the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat, he said he does not know Mr Zaharie personally.

"I was in court during the two days but I can't remember seeing him. After all, it was a public hearing and anyone could attend.

"I did not know who he was until the news broke out about the plane last Saturday," said Mr Fahmi.

Anwar was jailed for five years by the Court of Appeal last Friday but was released on bail. Flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board took off from KLIA at 12.40am on Saturday.

PKR vice-president N. Surendran said there "is not a drop of evidence to support such speculation. It is just a speculation. Let us be fair to the missing captain as well - he cannot answer for himself."

Mr Surendran, who is Padang Serai MP, said that he had no problems with the authorities conducting a thorough probe into the missing MAS flight.

"Every angle, no matter how remote and improbable should be considered.

"But there is not one drop of evidence to support the allegation at this point. It remains pure speculation. Let the authorities investigate this link fairly and professionally," he said.

Asked whether PKR would take legal action against the tabloid, Mr Surendran said he did not think his party should do so.

"I do not think that PKR should take any action for defamation against The Mail. Over the past one week there have been so many theories - and this is the latest in a long string of theories," he said.