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No right to blame my brother, MH370 pilot’s sister says

KUALA LUMPUR — Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, was loyal to the airline, had everything in life and was adored by his family and friends, said his sister Sakinab Shah today (March 6).

No right to blame my brother, MH370 pilot’s sister says

MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is adored by his family and friends, his sister today said, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the missing plane. Photo: Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR — Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, was loyal to the airline, had everything in life and was adored by his family and friends, said his sister Sakinab Shah today (March 6).

Her statement broke the family’s long silence over theories and negative speculation about her brother’s role in aviation’s greatest mystery.

Ahead of the first anniversary of the plane’s disappearance this Sunday, Ms Sakinab said no one should blame Capt Zaharie for any wrongdoing.

“As things stand today, with no tangible evidence to show, no one, be you politician, scientist, aviation expert, plane crash investigator, pilot, retired pilot, media or whoever else... none of you have a right to blame Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah for any wrongdoing.”

Capt Zaharie’s family members have remained largely mum and had shunned the media ever since MH370 vanished on March 8 last year, less than an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

His son Ahmad Seth was quoted by the New Straits Times last year saying, “I’ve read everything online. But I’ve ignored all the speculation. I know my father better.”

The only time his wife, Faizah Khan, reportedly spoke to the media was to confirm her husband’s voice in a recording of MH370’s pilots in the cockpit.

Ms Sakinab has now issued a commemorative statement in conjunction with the first anniversary of the disaster through the Friends of Captain Zaharie Facebook page.

In it, she recalled how the family had to endure “twisted and conniving misinterpretations” about her brother, and that at one stage, they sent a lawyer’s letter to a local media outlet warning it to stop its “rumour mongering”.

“People can be very hard and callous. As if to rub salt into the wound, stories of Zaharie and Mdm Faizah abound in the media declaring their marriage was on the rocks, that there was an impending divorce suit in the Syariah Court... Blah, blah, blah... all junk, all rubbish. Sorry, but you the media failed us horribly,” she said.

Ari, as she called her brother, was well-loved by his family members and was particularly adored by the younger relatives. Ms Sakinab also described how he could fix anything and was relied on to complete various home improvement projects.

“He was always sought after by sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews alike...a man of integrity,” she said.

Capt Zaharie was also loyal to MAS, which had sponsored his aviation training.

“He had an unblemished flying record of 18,000-plus hours, I am proud to say. It is sheer dedication to this profession that prompted him to set up his own home flight simulator just to equip himself to give a better teaching experience to his students, all at his own expense,” she said.

It was Capt Zaharie’s home flight simulator and the discovery of the manoeuvres he had been practising on it that turned the spotlight on him as the alleged perpetrator behind MH370’s disappearance.

Data on his home simulator showed that he had been practising flights out to the southern Indian Ocean – a finding that later tallied with the current working theory that MH370 ended its flight in this ocean off the coast of western Australia, based on Inmarsat satellite data.

There was also speculation about pilot suicide, but this has been dismissed by MAS commercial director Hugh Dunleavy, who said Capt Zaharie had excellent records and never showed any adverse behaviour or attitude. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

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