Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is alleged to be a supporter of Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, himself a rabid pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporter. It is also reported that the pilots family moved out of their home one day before the plane went missing.
Authorities are now focusing on the plane landing and the crew or someone else holding the 200+ passengers hostage. There are over 600 possible landing sites within the range of the plane that have a runway longer than 5,000 feet, one would assume every one will be checked and secured.
It is becoming clear that the disappearance of flight 370 is jihad. The evidence is mounting that this is a deliberate act most likely by the pilot.
From The Mail Online March 16 by Simon Parry, Amanda Williams and Wills Robinson
An image has emerged of the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet wearing a T-shirt with a 'Democracy is Dead' slogan as it has been revealed he could have hijacked the plane in an anti-government protest.
Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a father-of-three, was said to be a 'fanatical' supporter of the country's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim - jailed for homosexuality just hours before the jet disappeared.
It has also been revealed that the pilot's wife and three children moved out of the family home the day before the plane went missing.
It comes as FBI investigators say the disappearance of MH370 may have been ‘an act of piracy’ and the possibility that hundreds of passengers are being held at an unknown location has not been ruled out.
Officials also revealed that it is possible the aircraft could have landed and transmitted a satellite signal from the ground. If the plane was intact and had enough electrical power in reserve, it would be able to send out a radar 'ping'.
Captian Shah was an ‘obsessive’ supporter of Ibrahim. And hours before the doomed flight left Kuala Lumpur it is understood 53-year-old Shah attended a controversial trial in which Ibrahim was jailed for five years.
Campaigners say the politician, the key challenger to Malaysia’s ruling party, was the victim of a long-running smear campaign and had faced trumped-up charges.
Police sources have confirmed that Shah was a vocal political activist – and fear that the court decision left him profoundly upset. It was against this background that, seven hours later, he took control of a Boeing 777-200 bound for Beijing and carrying 238 passengers and crew.
Yesterday, Malaysian police searched his house in the upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam, where he had installed a home-made flight simulator. But this newspaper can reveal that investigators had already spent much of last week examining two laptops removed from Shah’s home. One is believed to contain data from the simulator
Confirming rising fears, Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak announced yesterday that MH370 was deliberately steered off course after its communication system was switched off. He said it headed west over the Malaysian seaboard and could have flown for another seven hours on its fuel reserves.
It is not yet clear where the plane was taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have been making for one of two possible flight corridors. The search, involving 43 ships and 58 aircraft from 15 countries, switched from the South China Sea to the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.
In another dramatic twist early Sunday Indian officials however, said the search was on hold until 'fresh search areas' were defined by Malaysia. It is unclear what the reason was for the delay.
Data showing the number of plausible runways where the plane could have touched down - which need to be at least 5,000ft - offer a baffling number of potential locations.
According to a map drawn up by U.S. radio station WNYC, there are 634 locations which could fit, from Australia to the Maldives to Pakistan.
However, the true number is likely to be even higher, as estimates of how far the plane could have travelled have been increased since the calculations were carried out.
US investigators say faint ‘pings’ were being transmitted for several hours after the flight lost contact with the ground.
Meanwhile, military radar showed the jet climbed to 45,000ft – above its service limit – which could have been a deliberate attempt to knock out the passengers and crew.
Anwar Ibrahim is a broadly popular democracy icon and former deputy prime minister whose prosecution on a charge of sodomy is seen by many Malaysians as political persecution.
The raids on Captain Shah’s home appeared stage-managed as a display of intent after the Prime Minister said the focus of the investigation was now on ‘crew and passengers’ as a result of the latest leads.
But investigators have told the Mail on Sunday inquiries into the background of the pilot actually began days earlier.
Malaysian police, helped by FBI agents from the US, are looking into the political and religious backgrounds of both Zaharie and his co-pilot. Zaharie’s home was sealed off yesterday as police spent an hour inside.
However, a senior investigation source said two laptops were taken from the property in low-key visits by police early last week despite a series of denials by officials that his home had been searched or raided.
One laptop taken away is thought to contain data from the flight simulator while a second contained little information. Zaharie’s personal laptop was not found, and is thought to have been with him in the cockpit of the plane, the source said.
Zaharie’s co-workers have told investigators the veteran pilot was a social activist who was vocal and fervent in his support of Ibrahim.
‘Colleagues made it clear to us that he was someone who held strong political beliefs and was strident in his support for Anwar Ibrahim,’ another investigation source said. ‘We were told by one colleague he was obsessed with politics.’
In their interviews, colleagues said Zaharie told them he planned to attend the court case involving Anwar on March 7, just hours before the Beijing flight, but investigators had not yet been able to confirm if he was among the crowd of Anwar supporters at court.
Zaharie is believed to be separated or divorced from his wife although they share the same house, close to Kuala Lumpur’s international airport. They have three children, but no family members were at home yesterday: only the maid has remained there.
There is much more, read it all