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PLANE-MISSINGTHE final words from the missing Malaysian jetliner’s cockpit gave no indication anything was wrong even though one of the plane’s communications systems had already been disabled, officials say.

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said an unknown person ended a conversation with air traffic controllers by saying “All right, good night”, after the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was shut down.

While authorities don’t know if that person was the pilot or co-pilot, the revelation has added to suspicions that, whoever it was, they may have been involved in the disappearance. Whoever spoke did not mention any trouble on board, seemingly misleading ground control.

It was possible that the plane was grounded when some satellite signals were sent, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur at around 12:40am on March 8, headed to Beijing. On Saturday, Malaysia’s government confirmed that the plane was deliberately diverted and may have flown as far north as Central Asia, or south into the vast reaches of the Indian Ocean.

Authorities have said someone on board the plane first disabled ACARS at 1.07am. Around 14 minutes later, the transponder, which identifies the plane to commercial radar systems, was also shut down. The fact that they went dark separately is strong evidence that the plane’s disappearance was deliberate.

Air force Maj. Gen. Affendi Buang told reporters he did not know whether it was the pilot or co-pilot who spoke to air traffic controllers.

mh-370-3Police have dismantled a flight simulator from the home of pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and have set it up at police headquarters to examine.

Experts are now looking at the simulator in a bid to uncover if it shows anything which may be related to the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

The US intelligence community is leaning towards the theory that “those in the cockpit” – the pilot and co-pilot Fariq Abdul – were deliberately responsible for whatever happened to the plane, a US official told CNN.

According to British media reports, police are investigating the possibility that Captain Shah hijacked his own aircraft in a political protest.

The pilot was a political fanatic and “obsessive” supporter of Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, The Mail on Sunday reported.

Hours before Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur, the pilot is said to have attended a controversial trial in which Ibrahim – who has been harassed and jailed on successive charges of homosexuality and sodomy – was jailed for five years.

Police sources say Captain Shah was a political activist and fear that the court decision left him profoundly upset.

Whoever took control of the plane and deliberately flew it off course had an extensive knowledge of aircraft systems – and in all likelihood no one on board had as much expertise as Captain Shah.

Foreign intelligence agencies have been asked to do background checks on all passengers on the flight but so far have found “no negative records”.

Background checks are also being done on all crew and ground staff, including engineers who had anything to do with the missing plane.

It has also been confirmed that Shah, and co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, did not ask to fly together on the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight the night the plane disappeared.

Malaysia’s police chief, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, said police continue to focus on the three areas of hijack, sabotage and personal or psychological problems among the crew and passengers, including ground staff.

“We took possession of a simulator, a flight simulator and we have dismantled it from the home (of the pilot) and we have assembled it at our office and we are getting experts to look at it now,” Mr Abu Bakar said.

“Everybody on board MH370 is being investigated, including the pilot and co-pilot. In mind of the new development we went to the house and took possession of the simulator, everything that would help us in our investigation,” he said, adding this had not been done earlier because “we didn’t see the necessity”.

One possibility that is likely being considered is that one of the two pilots crashed the plane deliberately in a suicide bid. While such incidents have happened before, the topic remains taboo, with crash investigators reluctant to come to this conclusion.

mh-370-2At a briefing last night in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s police chief, along with the country’s defence minister gave details on the latest in the hunt for MH370, which disappeared without trace more than one week ago. The search is today entering its 10th day.

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the search now covered 11 different countries as well as “deep and remote oceans” and that 25 countries were now involved in the search effort.

He said Malaysian authorities had requested further sensitive satellite data from countries including the US, China and France.

“This is an unprecedented case and what we are going through here … is being monitored across the world and it may change aviation history. I think there is lessons to be learned by everybody,” Mr Hussein said.

He said there had been no demands or contact from any particular groups, making it difficult to determine if the plane had been hijacked.

503095-31183594-ad32-11e3-bbbe-18ebc4e71679: Police went to the homes of the pilot and co-pilot on Saturday afternoon after the country’s prime minister announced that there had been deliberate actions by someone on the plane for its communication systems to be shut own and deviate from its route.

He said that foreign intelligence agencies had been asked to assist by doing background checks on all the passengers and some countries had yet to respond.

“We have not yet received the report of all background checks of all the passengers. As yet there are still a few countries yet to respond to our requests. There are a few foreign intelligence agencies who have cleared all the passengers,” Mr Abu Bakar said.

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