Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has slammed a front-page report of a local newspaper which claimed that the co-pilot of the MH370 aircraft had made a telephone call when it was flying low, near Penang.
He said he should have been aware of the phone call earlier, if the claim by the newspaper was indeed true.
“I cannot comment (on the newspaper report) because if it is true, we would have known about it much earlier,” Hishammuddin, who is also defence minister, told reporters.
He said he wouldn’t confirm anything without any verification since the beginning when flight MH370 was reported missing.
He also mentioned that it was irresponsible for anyone to take advantage of the situation and make a baseless report.
The search team, the minister said, had received numerous indicators in the South China Sea, satellite images by China, claims of finding safety jackets and boats to oil spills, the search and rescue expanded to the South China Sea, Andaman Sea and now in the Indian Ocean.
“We received numerous leads and we followed them but unfortunately, it was a roller-coaster ride, whereby we received information and investigated (them) but they were baseless,” he added.
He wished the public understood because such baseless information not only affected operations but also the families of passengers and the crew of the aircraft.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41am on March 8, and disappeared from radar screens while over the South China Sea. It was supposed to land in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.