Malaysian Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim accused on Thursday the Malaysian government of a cover-up in allegedly deleting from the manifest of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 dangerous cargo.
He insisted that the flight manifest was deleted by authorities, based on information from his confidential sources. The ill-fated flight had 2,453 kilogrammes of lithium batteries, radio accessories and charges, plus 4 tonnes of mangosteen.
The manifest had strict instructions on handling of the batteries which were flammable hazards, according to reports, but NNR Global Logistics which handled the shipment, said in an interview with E&T magazine that the batteries comprised only a small portion of the cargo.
Reports said the batteries were not listed in the cargo manifest, while Malaysian Airlines was instructed by its lawyers not to provide details of the cargo. But the air carrier said it packed the batteries according to international safety regulations since lithium batteries could cause fire on planes.
The Malaysian government, in turn, accused Anwar of exploiting the MH370 tragedy and further damaging the country's reputation for political gain. The opposition leader was linked previously to the disappearance of the Boeing 777 due to his being related to the jet's pilot who allegedly hijacked the plane to protest a court decision that sentenced Anwar to jail on sodomy charges a day before the jet went missing on March 8.
Anwar made the accusation in an interview with ABC's Four Corners TV show just when the underwater search for the missing aircraft resumed.
He said, quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald, "You can't expect the international community to have this huge search and rescue operation to find the debris ... we have to know what is the cargo on the flight."