Daughter of MH370 pilot says: Speculation is ‘killing the family’

Support is pouring in for the daughter of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53.

Miss Aishah Zaharie is reported to have flown back to Malaysia to be with her distraught family.

According to a report on an Australian news website, Miss Aishah has been living in Melbourne since 2010.

She is said to have told a friend that speculation surrounding her father was "killing the family".

An unnamed source told the Australian website: "On what the international media wrote about Captain Zaharie is not true (and) ridiculous. He's a nice man and loving father to his children."

The pilot and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, have become a primary focus of the investigation into the fate of the flight, with one of the key questions being who was controlling the aircraft when the communications systems were disabled.

Last week, the police searched the pilots' homes and took away a flight simulator from Captain Zaharie's home in Kuala Lumpur.

In the meantime, Miss Aishah's Instagram and Facebook accounts have been set to private, The Star reported.

According to her Facebook profile, she studied architecture at Melbourne's Deakin University, Australian newspaper The Age reported.

In a statement, the university confirmed a student by the same name had been enrolled there. It said: "A Deakin student by that name graduated as a master of architecture in 2012 with an exemplary record from this university."

Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang, whose training base is in Melbourne, urged his followers on Facebook and Twitter to pray for his friend's family.

He wrote in a Facebook post: "Captain Zaharie is our friend's daddy (our Melbourne buddy). Our heart sank upon hearing the appalling news about #MH370. Thoughts and prayers goes out to the passengers on board and also to their families. Keep strong and safe."

Last week, an almost four-minute video entitled Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was posted on YouTube, featuring images of the pilot with family and friends. The video has garnered 126,642 views so far.

The video begins with the caption: "A tribute to a man well loved by many. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the guy we all call Ari, Uncle Ari and Tok Mamu Ari."


It continues with closed circuit television footage that shows the pilot walking through security checks at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The rest, in the form of a slide show, depicts him in his younger days.

The video ends with the plea and prayer: "Please come home, we miss you. Uncle Ari, we patiently and anxiously await your safe return, along with the rest of your crew members and passengers."

And in another development, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim condemned speculation on Tuesday that the captain - a member of his party and a distant relative - may have had political motives to sabotage the plane, AFP reported.

Describing Captain Zaharie as a "decent man", Anwar said he was "disgusted" by what he saw as an attempt to smear the pilot and somehow implicate the opposition leadership in the disappearance of the plane.

Media reports said Captain Zaharie is an active member of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, and some have suggested he might have sabotaged the flight as an act of political revenge.

A Keadilan party official confirmed press reports that the captain is a distant relative of Anwar's daughter-in-law on Tuesday.

Said Anwar: "Is it a crime for anyone to be a member of Keadilan? To me it is an attempt to deflect the government's incompetence.

"I, of course, did not take the news reports seriously but I am speaking out because I sympathise with the pilot and his family."

Get The New Paper for more stories.