Former Malaysian PM lays blame on Boeing for MH370 disappearance
DateApril 27, 2014
South-East Asia correspondent for Fairfax Media
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Malaysia’s former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has questioned whether flight MH370 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean and has blamed Boeing, the plane’s maker, for its disappearance.
Dr Mahathir, who maintains a powerful influence in his country’s ruling party, also suggested the reason why the passengers and crew never acted to stop whatever was happening on board was because they were “somehow incapacitated".
“Even if the pilot wants to commit suicide, the co-pilot and the cabin crew would not allow him to do so without trying something,” he said.
“But no one, not even the passengers, did anything.”
Writing in an opinion piece, Dr Mahathir questioned why no debris or oil slick from the plane has been found.
“Can it be that the plane remained intact on crashing and sank with no trace and no one launching the lifeboat doors, as we are told all these aircraft are equipped with?” he asked.
“Can one believe this plane quietly floated down into the raging sea and sank conveniently in the deepest part (seven miles deep) of the Indian Ocean?”
Dr Mahathir said it must have taken some effort if the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, disabled the plane’s communication system.
“The co-pilot would notice and for his own life he would have tried to do something … was he disabled? Were all the crew members and the passengers disabled?”
Dr Mahathir, 88, who was prime minister for 22 years from 1981, said he is upset that Malaysia Airlines staff were taken hostage by angry Chinese relatives of passengers in Beijing last week, “because they are blaming the wrong people".
“The loss of the plane is due to the makers, Boeing. How can Boeing produce a plane that is so easily disabled?” he said.
Dr Mahathir said in an era where passenger planes can be tracked on mobile phone, and spy satellites operated by some countries can photograph and identify a person on the ground, Boeing must explain how all these means of tracking the plane “can be disabled, can fail”.
“Either Boeing technology is poor, or it is not fail-safe,” he said.
“I would not like to fly in a Boeing aircraft unless Boeing can explain how all its system can fail or be disabled.”
Dr Mahathir said Boeing, a multinational corporation based in Chicago, must “demonstrate possible ways for the communication system to be disabled”.
“Boeing must accept responsibility for building an aircraft that can disappear in mid-air so completely,” he said.
Boeing has sent experts to Kuala Lumpur to work with Malaysian and international aviation experts investigating the disappearance of the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board during a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
Boeing has not responded to Dr Mahathir's comments which were first published in his personal blog and then republished in several Malaysian news outlets.
Dr Mahathir’s comments will fuel scepticism among Malaysians that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean 1500 kilometres west of Perth, where an Australian-led hunt has so far failed to find any trace of the airliner.
Malaysia plans this week to release a preliminary report into the disappearance - but, according to officials, it will shed little light on what happened.
Malaysia Airlines MH370 was a Boeing 777-200. The airliner is rated as one of the safest aircraft based on its accident safety record and high number of flight hours.
Inside the Boeing 777 – 200