KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has never ruled out the possibility that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could have been downed by a suicidal pilot, the country's former prime minister Najib Razak said on Wednesday (Feb 19).

Najib, who was premier when MH370 vanished with 239 people on board nearly six years ago, was responding to remarks by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott that Malaysian leaders had considered from the outset that flight captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah may have committed mass murder.

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"My very clear understanding from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here, they thought it was a murder-suicide by the pilot," Abbott said in a clip from a Sky News documentary on the tragedy airing Wednesday.

Najib told online news portal Free Malaysia Today that Malaysian officials had considered such a scenario during their investigation but had chosen not to make their views public.

"It would have been deemed unfair and legally irresponsible since the black boxes and cockpit voice recorders had not been found and hence, there was no conclusive proof whether the pilot was solely or jointly responsible,” Najib was quoted as saying.

"Again I must stress that this possible scenario was never ruled out during the search effort and investigations, where no effort was spared."

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A spokesman for Najib confirmed his remarks.

READ: Malaysia suspected MH370 downed in murder-suicide: Tony Abbott

READ: 'I will never give up': Relatives of missing Chinese on MH370 vow to keep searching

Malaysia's transport ministry declined to comment. Authorities had previously said there was nothing suspicious in the captain's background, training or mental health, but did not rule out the possibility that the aircraft had been deliberately taken off course.

Najib said there were several reasons for Read More – Source