Indonesian Air Force pilot aboard an Indonesian Air Force military surveillance aircraft on March 11 over the Malacca Strait, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.(AFP Photo)
Malaysia on Monday rejected as "speculation" a report in a British newspaper which alleged that the pilot of the missing Flight MH370 was a prime suspect behind the baffling disappearance of the aircraft.
"Don't listen to speculation, basically it's not fair to the pilot's family. It's about family and he has children and this time, if you're wrong, how are you going to repair the damage," acting Malaysian transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein said.
The UK's Sunday Times reported on Sunday that the Royal Malaysian Police now regarded MH370 pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah as the major suspect in the disappearance of Flight MH370.
Hishamuddin also said the Malaysian government was still discussing with Australian and Chinese authorities to identify a new location in the Indian Ocean to locate the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished on March 8.
They were also discussing a new phase and the use of suitable assets for the operation to locate the aircraft, the minister said.
"That is very important in this new phase because without knowing or deciding where this area is going to be, it's very difficult for us to understand what sort of equipment is needed, which have specific capabilities, for the search mission," he told reporters.
The Sunday Times had reported that the captain of Flight MH370 had been identified as the prime suspect by a Malaysian police investigation into the disappearance of the plane after checks cleared all other people on board.
The criminal inquiry does not rule out the possibility that the Boeing 777-200 plane was lost due to mechanical failure or terrorism, but the police view is that if it was the result of human action, the captain was the most likely perpetrator, the Sunday Times report said.
Malaysia's special branch focused the inquiry on Captain Zaharie Shah, 53, after intelligence checks failed to substantiate any suspicions about the other people on board the jet, the report said.
The Beijing-bound plane, carrying 239 people including five Indians, mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
The disappearance of the plane is one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
Detectives conducted more than 170 interviews. They found that Zaharie, an outgoing, married man with a penchant for gadgetry and postings on social media, appeared to have made no social or work commitments for the future, the report said.
This stood in contrast to the plans of his co-pilot, Fariq Hamid, and the rest of the crew.