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MH370: Pandangan Kelurga Zaharie

The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was in emotional turmoil over the break-up of his marriage, his family have revealed.

Speaking about the mystery for the first time, the wife and daughter of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah said the 53-year-old pilot had been distracted and withdrawn in the weeks before the aircraft’s disappearance – and refused pleas to attend some marriage counselling sessions.

Three weeks after Flight MH370 went missing with 239 crew and passengers aboard, investigators in Malaysia believe that someone – possibly the captain – deliberately steered the Boeing 777 off course after communications were cut.

Close: MH370 pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah with his daughter Aishah. She has claimed he had been distracted and withdrawn in the weeks before the aircraft's disappearance

The plane is thought to have flown hundreds of miles out over the southern Indian Ocean where it eventually ran out of fuel and plunged into the sea.

No suicide note has been found and no motive established, but police are continuing to concentrate their inquiries on the pilot’s background and whether his state of mind before the flight may be a factor.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the pilot’s wife, Faizah Khanum Mustafa Khan, has told investigators that he stopped speaking to her in the weeks before the fateful flight on March 8, and spent time alone in his room where he had built a flight simulator. ‘He just retreated into a shell,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Aishah Zaharie, 28, the pilot’s daughter, said that in her last conversations with her father, she barely recognised the man who used to dote on her. ‘He wasn’t the father I knew. He seemed disturbed and lost in a world of his own,’ she said.

Last week, Faizah and Aishah, along with other family members, were interviewed in detail by police in Kuala Lumpur. The lengthy interviews, described in detail to The Mail on Sunday by a source close to the pilot’s family, revealed that:

Zaharie was on the brink of divorcing his wife after nearly 30 years of marriage.
He refused to attend marriage counselling with Islamic elders.
He shunned family and spent hours alone on his flight simulator.
He expressed ‘utter frustration’ at the jailing of his political hero, Anwar Ibrahim, hours before the flight.


Family portrait: Captain Zaharie with wife Faizah and two of their children. He was reportedly on the brink of divorcing her after nearly 30 years of marriage

Plush: The family home in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb

Despite the pilot’s behaviour, his family are convinced that he was not responsible for the plane’s disappearance

Faizah, who was just 16 when she first met Zaharie, broke down repeatedly during two lengthy interviews with police, the family source said. One of the interviews lasted more than four hours.

She was initially reluctant to discuss the breakdown of her marriage, and refused to accept her husband might be involved in the flight’s disappearance, protesting: ‘It’s unfair to blame my husband.’

However, over the course of the interviews, she told police how her husband became increasingly distracted in the months leading up to the flight.

‘I found him distant and difficult to understand,’ she said. She told investigators that although they continued to live in the same house, Zaharie spent his time alone.

Faizah said her husband was so withdrawn he hardly spoke to his sons and was not close to them. ‘He just retreated into a shell,’ she said.

When he wasn’t working, Zaharie spent ‘more time with friends than with family members’. She confirmed they had spoken of separating but had not taken any formal steps towards getting a divorce.


The 53-year-old pilot had been under suspicion after investigators discovered a flight simulator at his Kuala Lumpur home

The pilot's wife has told investigators that he stopped speaking to her in the weeks before the fateful flight on March 8, and spent time alone in his room where he had built a flight simulator

She said he appeared agitated and to be suffering from ‘frayed nerves’. Of his three children, Zaharie appears to have been closest to Aishah, who flew back from Melbourne, Australia, to be with her family after MH370 went missing.

She spoke to her father by phone in the weeks before the flight, and told investigators: ‘He wasn’t his usual self. He was distant and cranky.’

Nine ships and ten planes will cover a 97,000sq mile area where search teams have so far failed to recover any confirmed debris from flight MH370.

Chinese aircraft have spotted objects that were white and red – the same colours as the aircraft – but these items have yet to be conclusively linked to the passenger jet, which disappeared three weeks ago with 239

passengers and crew on board. Investigators hope that locating debris will help narrow the search for the ‘black box’ recorders. However, a shortage of live satellite data and adverse weather conditions are hampering the operation.

The investigation is being led by the Malaysian authorities. Meanwhile, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is co-ordinating the search 1,150 miles off the coast of Perth in an area of the Indian Ocean that is one of the world’s most remote and least researched areas.

Aishah said her father spoke to her about his marital problems and told her he didn’t think they could reconcile. In their conversations, he asked her how she would feel if her parents divorced.

Aishah said she tried to persuade her father to seek the help of Islamic elders to try to mend the relationship but he refused.

The daughter told investigators she did not know if there was another woman in her father’s life.

Although Aishah does not appear to have spoken to her father on the day the flight disappeared, she told investigators she knew from friends in Kuala Lumpur he was upset and felt ‘utter frustration’ over the jail sentence given to Anwar Ibrahim.

Zaharie was a fervent supporter of Anwar, a pro-democracy icon in Malaysia who was jailed for five years for sodomy hours before Flight MH370 took off for the final time.

Anwar’s supporters believe it was a politically motivated prosecution.

Despite her father’s personal problems, Aishah told investigators she did not believe he could be in any way responsible for the flight’s disappearance.

‘I don’t believe he would ever intentionally endanger the lives of his crew and passengers,’ she insisted.

Investigators also spoke to the pilot’s two sons – Ahmad Seth Zaharie, 26, a languages student, and Ahmad Idris Zaharie.

Ahmad Seth told them he had ‘barely spoken’ to his father in the weeks before the flight disappeared, even though they shared the same house.

Ahmad Idris posted a message on Facebook thanking someone for a poem written in support of his father which he said had helped to counter the ‘wounds and sadness’ from ‘baseless accusations made against my father’.

Police interviews with family members have confirmed that the pilot – who lived with his family in an upmarket suburb of the Malaysian capital, close to the international airport – did not have any obvious financial problems.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last weekend that police had not, at that time, interviewed the pilot’s wife in detail, partly because of cultural sensitivities in asking direct questions to people in grief or distress.


The plane is thought to have flown hundreds of miles out over the southern Indian Ocean where it eventually ran out of fuel and plunged into the sea

The softly-softly approach frustrated FBI officials working alongside Malaysian federal police. British intelligence agents are also helping in the investigation, The Mail on Sunday has been told.

News of the interviews came as the search for remains of the plane continued.

A Chinese and an Australian ship retrieved objects from the sea 1,150 miles off Perth, Western Australia, but none was confirmed to be from the missing flight.

Chinese aircraft also flew over the search area, and reported spotting three orange, white and red objects floating in the sea.

However, officials cautioned that they may be junk rather than wreckage from the aircraft.

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