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Speculations abound as MH370 mystery continues

It has been 10 weeks since MH370 disappeared without a trace en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur and in the absence of anything substantive, speculations and intrigue are taking hold in the public space.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's government is under pressure to dispel allegations of cover-ups in the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 saga.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's office issued a denial on Wednesday night after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim reportedly told a foreign news agency that the MAS cargo manifest had been deleted or covered up, before the government was pressured to release it to the public earlier this month.

It has been 10 weeks since MH370 disappeared without a trace en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysians are becoming increasingly wary and impatient.

They want answers, but in the absence of anything substantive, speculations and intrigue are taking hold in the public space.

The government's release of a preliminary report has done little to quell Malaysians' frustration at the lack of progress in the search, even though it contained the full cargo manifest and blow-by-blow accounts of communication between air traffic control and MH370 pilots.

"Now, we actually don't know what happened, it's coming in bits and pieces. Now we are hearing bizarre speculations concerning CIA, concerning military cover-ups," said Nur Jazlan Mohammad, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

With authorities estimating that it will take up to a year given the difficulties of the deep sea search, the entertainment industry is already planning books and movies to fill the information blackhole.

This rush to feed a public hungry for explanations has prompted the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia to ask for publishers and filmmakers to respect the feelings of those who have lost family members and friends to MH370.

"This is not the time to make movies... especially when we still do not know what happened," said Huang Hui Kang, China’s ambassador to Malaysia.

With no updates so far, many are also questioning the effectiveness of the international panel set up to find reasons for the disappearance.

"Especially when it comes to the Ministry of Defence, there are some areas we simply cannot access because its related to security issues," said Nur Jazlan.

Some also feel disappointed with the country's defence forces, which failed to send a jet to investigate an unidentified object that flew across Malaysian airspace.

"It seems a bit far-fetched to think they had difficulty in communicating that time, there's something very wrong," said Dr Zakaria Ahmad, deputy vice chancellor of Help University.

Others are concerned that public interest will wane over time, leaving some to insist it is their duty to continue to seek the truth.

"It has made a significant impact on the psyche of Malaysian people as a whole. The only way forward is to focus on the truth," said Dr KJ John, director of the Malaysia Institute of Development and Asian Studies.

However, without finding the plane or any sign of the wreckage, MH370 will remain the biggest aviation mystery in history for a long time to come.  

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