Missing MH370: Stress of siege

The family of Malaysia Airlines pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah has gone into hiding to ride out the "storm of speculation" against him.

"Zaharie's family prefers to ride out the storm than talk. For now, they know who their real friends are," said a close family friend who requested anonymity, reported Malaysia's The Star.

According to the friend, the decision of Captain Zaharie's wife and children to go into "hiding" was to avoid being hounded by the media, like what happened to the family of co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid. Members of a local TV station had stationed themselves in front of their house.

"At a time of anxiety like this, the family members want to rally together for emotional support, not fend off questions from the media," she said.

Except for an initial interview with his grandnephew, a YouTube tribute for the pilot and an outpouring of online support for his daughter Aisyah, nothing has been heard from the family.


The friend said the family had been very cooperative with the requests made by the authorities, as they had nothing to hide.

Although some relatives felt Capt Zaharie's family should come out publicly to clear speculations that portrayed him as a political activist, they knew they should respect their desire for privacy, she said.

His relatives also stressed that he was not an extremist, unlike what was alleged about him in the media.

No amount of speculation could convince them that he might have done anything to cause MH370 to go missing, they said.

He had also been in touch regularly with his daughter Aisyah, who has completed postgraduate studies in architecture in Melbourne, Australia.

The daughter had told a friend in Australia before returning to Kuala Lumpur that "all the speculation is killing the family".

She has taken time off from her work to be with the family, who are staying in a different location and not at their home in Shah Alam.

As for family members of Mr Fariq, the 27-year-old first officer, they said they would not grant press interviews until the aircraft was found.

His brother, Mr Afiq Abdul Hamid, has been counting the hours and days since the plane vanished.

"It's been a week. Still waiting," he posted on Twitter last week.

Get The New Paper for more stories.