No groups have made any demands over Malaysia Airlines MH370: Minister

The Straits Times Malaysia Bureau

KUALA LUMPUR - No groups have made any demands over the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, even as he refuted rumours that the plane has landed somewhere.

He also declined to comment on speculation that it could be a 9/11 style attack, saying only that "it is difficult to determine if it is hijack or terrorism".

The search for the missing plane entered a dramatic new phase on Saturday after Prime Minister Najib Razak acknowledged for the first time that the plane was deliberately diverted, and that it could have gone as far north as Kazakhstan in Central Asia or southwards towards the Indian Ocean.

Malaysia Airlines chief Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said that the plane took off with planned fuel and was not carrying additional fuel.

The aircraft had fuel to fly up to 8 hours, he said, adding that there was no hazardous material in the cargo.

Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar, who was also present at the press conference on Sunday, said investigation now includes ground staff, as well as crew and passengers of the plane.

Investigations include possibility of hijack, sabotage and terrorism, he added.

The government said earlier on Sunday that police had searched the homes of the two pilots of the missing plane and were examining the captain's home flight simulator, but cautioned it was "normal" procedure.

Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, went missing near the South China Sea early on March 8.

The revelation refocused attention on the background of the 239 passengers and crew, while sparking both outrage and relief among anxious family members in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.