World / Latest News

Malaysia asks help on passengers' info

By Peng Yining in Kuala Lumpur and He Na in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-17 03:18

Media reports point to possible al-Qaida link to missing aircraft

Malaysia is still waiting for some countries to send background checks on passengers who were on a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner as it intensifies inquiries into a suspected deliberate diversion of the plane, the country's police chief said on Sunday.

"There are still a few countries yet to respond to our requests," Khalid Abu Bakar said at a news conference.

The latest move comes amid speculation that the plane's disappearance might be linked to al-Qaida.

The country is also seeking international cooperation in its investigation and asked the United States and China to share their satellite data.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard, including 154 Chinese nationals, disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

On Sunday, China Central Television called a passenger born in China "suspicious" after he was found to have taken courses in airplane engines in Switzerland. Before that, he received an education in Turkey.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph said on Sunday that evidence of a plot by Malaysian Islamists to hijack a jetliner and commit a 9/11-style attack is being investigated in connection with the jetliner's disappearance.

An al-Qaida informant told a court last week that four or five Malaysian men had been planning to take control of a plane and use a bomb hidden in a shoe to blow open the cockpit door, it said.

Two senior US law enforcement officials told ABC News that the plane performed "tactical evasion maneuvers" after it disappeared from radar. US authorities believe only a person with extensive flight or engineering experience could have executed the maneuvers, the report said.

Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation to the crew and passengers, as well as engineers who may have had contact with the aircraft before takeoff.

But "so far no evidence shows that any particular person or several people on board had motivation for hijacking the plane and targeting a certain building," Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transport minister, said.

"We also haven't received any demands for ransom, and the possibility that two passengers on board with fake passports are terrorists has been ruled out already," he added.

Malaysia's Ministry of Transport said on Sunday that officers spoke to the family of the flight's veteran captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and searched the 53-year-old's home. Experts are examining the pilot's flight simulator in his house.

Police also searched the home of co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid, 27, who joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007.

At Sunday's news conference, Hussein said the search and rescue mission continues to be a multinational effort led by Malaysia. To date, 25 countries have joined the effort.

Malaysian officials are contacting countries along two corridors where the plane might have gone — a northern one from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern one stretching from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

"We are also asking countries to provide further assistance in the search, including satellite data and analysis, ground-search capabilities, radar data, and maritime and air assets," Hussein said.

China plans to send five more experts in aviation search and rescue to Malaysia, the Chinese embassy in Malaysia told China Daily.

Contact the writers at and

Agencies contributed to this story.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics