PETALING JAYA: Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pix) has defended his criticism of an AirAsia X pilot who asked his passengers to pray for their safety when the plane got into technical difficulties, saying that the pilot should instead be calming the passengers down.
“I always pray and not only during emergencies. When the engine of the plane was shaking or facing problems, I believe the passengers would have been praying themselves already.
“There is no need for the pilot to add to the passengers’ fears,” the DAP member said in a blog post on Wednesday.
On Monday, Zaid criticised the pilot of the D7237 flight in a series of tweets, saying that it was irresponsible for him to urge the passengers to pray while the plane experienced distressing technical difficulties.
Zaid, a former MP and cabinet minister, was subsequently slammed for his tweets by many parties including AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun.
“I said that the pilot should not have asked the passengers to pray because that can mean that the situation cannot be saved.
“It can also mean that he does not have the confidence to overcome the problem at the time. When the pilot asked them to pray, how were the passengers feeling?,” he said adding that it was unnecessary to add to their burden.
“Say you were undergoing heart surgery and in the middle of it the surgeon asks your family to pray for you. Doesn’t that show that the situation is critical and could be fatal. Is that what we want from pilots and surgeons?” he added.
The low-cost carrier flight with 359 people onboard was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Perth on Sunday but had to return to Perth an-hour-and-a-half later due to a technical issue.
Passengers had reported saying that the Airbus A330 was "shaking like a washing machine".
The flight landed safely at 10am (Perth time), about three hours after departure.
AirAsia X has said it is conducting an investigation into the cause of the "technical issue" together with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.
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