JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian National Police Chief Gen. Sutarman scolded the media on Monday, September 15, for putting him on the hot seat when they reported that he said he knew what happened to the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Kompas.com on Friday, September 12, quoted Sutarman as saying: “Saya berbicara dengan Kepala Polisi Malaysia Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar, saya tahu apa yang sebenarnya terjadi dengan MH370.” (“I spoke with Malaysia Police Chief Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar, I know what really happened to MH370”)
In Tempo.co‘s version of the story published on Saturday, September 13, Sutarman was quoted as saying: “Saya dan kepolisian Malaysia sebenarnya tahu penyebabnya, tapi saya tidak mau mengungkapkan di sini.” (“I and the Malaysia police actually know the cause, but I don’t want to disclose it here.”)
The sudden disappearance of the flight on March 8, with no distress call or other signs of trouble, has ignited intense speculation over what happened to the jet and its 239 passengers. Sutarman’s supposed statement was therefore interpreted to mean Malaysian authorities know what happened to the flight, and are just hiding it from the public.
As expected, Malaysian authorities denied Sutarman’s statements, which international media like Daily Mail and Huffington Post have already picked up.
To start with, they pointed out that “Malaysia Police Chief Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar”, whom Sutarman said he spoke with, according to Kompas.com, occupied that position only until 1994.
The current Malaysian Police chief, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, said he did not know anything about what Sutarman said and was shocked by the report, according to Malaysian state news agency Bernama.
The Indonesian embassy in Malaysia also denied that Sutarman said those things, and told Bernama that the Indonesian police chief would summon the reporters to clarify the report. “Action will be taken if (the reporter) failed to show any proof,” Aby Nursetyanto, the police attache, told Bernama.
So what did Sutarman really say?
When reporters asked Sutarman on Monday if he really knew what happened to MH370, this was his reply:
“That’s wrong. You (reporters) sometimes like to quote carelessly,” he said. “We work together with Malaysia because one of the (MH370) pilot’s maid is Indonesian. The maid was silent during questioning. So, to uncover what the pilot was actually like in daily life, the Indonesian Police assisted in bringing the maid’s parents (to Malaysia).
‘THAT’S WRONG. YOU (REPORTERS) SOMETIMES LIKE TO QUOTE CARELESSLY’
“The one who actually knows about the pilot’s condition is the Malaysian Police, and the ones who know about the (maid’s parent’s) departure are me and the Malaysian Police Chief.”
When reporters pressed, asking if the Malaysian Police really know what happened to MH370, Sutarman denied it again.
“No one knows, (if they do) it would be found by now. And if (the media) says the Indonesian Police chief knows, that’s incredible.
“What I mentioned before was (in the context) of finding out what the pilot was really like … because his maid is an Indonesian from North Sumatra. To find out what the pilot’s daily life was like, Malaysian Police Chief Tan Sri Khalid asked me to bring in (the maid’s) parents. So I brought them there, along with the village chief… for questioning.” – Rappler.com
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