KUALA LUMPUR - The public should not believe the satellite picture supposedly showing Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet until it has been verified, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He said the public should not take any information, including the image which was released on Russian state-controlled television, without verification from the international bodies investigating the crash.
"Do not take it wholeheartedly or blindly. I have experience with flying carpets and coconuts during MH370.
"Let us wait until the international bodies come up with a verified outcome of their investigation," he said. He added that a foreign news agency was already claiming that the picture was fake.
Hishammuddin was speaking to the media after meeting with US Marine Corps Forces Pacific Commander Lt General John A. Toolan at the Defence Ministry headquarters here yesterday.
He said one of the main issues discussed with Toolan was increasing threat of the Islamic State (IS) and the continued safety an security for the region.
"This is why the recently concluded first Malaysia-United States join amphibious exercise (Malus Amphex 2014), held in Tanduo, Sabah, is important.
"The amphibious capabilities is vital to our part of the world and the hot spots in our region, particularly in Eastern Sabah," he said.
He said the Malus Amphex, which focused on amphibious landing, engineering and medical civil action programs was greatly beneficial to the Malaysian Armed Forces in dealing with future cross-border threats and intrusions.
Hishammuddin said he hope that joint exercises between Malaysia and US would continue.
Photo: A handout image from Russia's Channel One television, received by Reuters on November 15, 2014, shows what appears to be a fighter jet firing a missile at a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine, where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down on July 17. Russian state-controlled TV Channel One has broadcast what it called "sensational" photographs, which it said supported Moscow's theory that flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet. The photographs, said to be taken by a Western satellite, appear to show a fighter jet firing a missile at a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine where flight MH17 was shot down in July, killing all 298 people on board. Several commentators who have examined the photographs have described them as forgeries, however. Moscow has long said it believed the aircraft was destroyed by a Ukrainian military jet, while Western officials say evidence suggests the plane was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatist rebels