Last updated Friday, August 01, 2014 11:31am

File photo of Uighurs from Xinjiang Province posing for photos in front of a portrait of Mao Zedong before the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2013.File photo of Uighurs from Xinjiang Province posing for photos in front of a portrait of Mao Zedong before the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2013.KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Malaysian police and Interpol are combing through the personal backgrounds of passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, and have confirmed they are taking a close look at a 35-year-old passenger of Uighur descent.

Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Hadi Ho Abdullah confirmed this in a report in the Malay language daily Harian Metro today.

“We will conduct further investigations into this matter,” he said, without divulging further details.

It is understood that the police have also searched the family homes of crew members including the pilot and co-pilot of the flight, as terrorism and sabotage has not been ruled out as a reason behind the disappearance of the airliner.

An unnamed source had told the daily that Malaysian police and Interpol are focusing their attention on this man because of the skills he possessed.

“We are not saying that he is involved in terrorism, suspected of sabotaging or hijacking the plane, it’s just that more attention is on him because of his background and we feel that there are important elements that have to be looked at,” the source was quoted as saying.

The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group primarily living in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China.

It was reported that the group that killed at least 29 people and wounding 143 with long knives and daggers, in the Kunming railway station on March 1, were allegedly Muslim separatist militants from the western region of Xinjiang, suspected to be of Uighur descent.

According to the man’s curriculum vitae (CV) found online, he is a PhD holder and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, at a Turkish university.

He was among 153 Chinese nationals on board MH370.

In the Gallery


  • Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein answers questions during a news conference about the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 12, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Indian sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik works on a sand sculpture of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, at golden beach at Puri in the eastern Indian state of Odisha March 12, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • A tribute to the passengers and crew onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is seen inside a Buddhist temple in Kuala Lumpur March 12, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Vietnamese Navy's Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Le Minh Thanh (R) points at a map to show the area where Vietnam is conducting search activities for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 in Phu Quoc island on March 12, 2014. ― AFP pic

  • This handout photograph released by the Indonesian Air Force shows Indonesian Air Force personnel aboard an Indonesian Air Force military surveillance aircraft on March 11 over the Straits of Malacca, a passageway between Indonesia and Malaysia, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 March 12, 2014. ― AFP pic

  • Buddhist monks pray during an interfaith prayer called "Hope" for the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a Buddhist temple in Kuala Lumpur March 12, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • A family member of Uighur passenger Maimaitijiang Abula, who had been aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, walks surrounded by members of the media outside a hotel in Beijing, March 12, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • People stand on the Bund across from illuminated buildings, on one of which is seen the flight number MH370 of the Malaysia Airlines plane that has been missing since Saturday, in Shanghai, March 12, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Police officers with a dog walk past passengers at Beijing International Airport days after the Beijing-bound Malaysian jetliner MH 370 went missing, March 13, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Search area is seen on an iPad of a military officer onboard a Vietnam Air Force AN-26 aircraft, during a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, off Con Dao island, March 13, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Senior Colonel Do Duc Minh sits in the cockpit of a Vietnam Air Force Casa 212 before take-off on a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at a military airport in Ho Chi Minh city March 13, 2014. ― Reuters pic

  • Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (C) speaks during a news conference about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 13, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • A military officer works on a map onboard a Royal Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the Straits of Malacca March 13, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A helicopter at Phu Quoc airport, where Vietnamese search and rescue operations are located. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • Military ships at the naval base in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • A helicopter at Phu Quoc airport, where Vietnamese search and rescue operations are located. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • A plane at Phu Quoc airport, where Vietnamese search and rescue operations are located. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • The air traffic control tower at Phu Quoc airport, where the Vietnamese authorities hold press conferences twice a day. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • A crew member from the Royal Malaysian Air Force looks through the window of a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the Straits of Malacca March 13, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Crew members from the Royal Malaysian Air Force prepare a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft for a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the Straits of Malacca March 13, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Two girls writing their message at the viewing gallery in KLIA. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • A woman writing her message at the viewing gallery in KLIA. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • Muslim perform their maghrib prayers and Yasin recitation for MH370 at KLIA airport. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • Muslim perform their maghrib prayers and Yasin recitation for MH370 at KLIA airport. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • A child stands alongside other Muslims to perform their maghrib prayers and Yasin recitation for MH370 at KLIA airport. — Picture by Choo Choo May

  • Muslim perform their maghrib prayers and Yasin recitation for MH370 at KLIA airport. — Picture by Choo Choo May

The Malay Mail Online is waiting for confirmation from the university to verify that that was his last position, prior to boarding the plane.

Besides extensive teaching and research experience in electronics, biomedical, and digital communications, the man had also spent slightly less than a year in 2004 as a researcher at a training and simulation centre in Sweden.

He “designed an integrated future soldier training system based on sensors, communication subsystems and integrated-helmet subsystems and performed simulations for real-time,” according to the CV.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 aircraft fell off Malaysia’s secondary radar at 1.30am on March 8. The plane carrying 239 passengers and crew members were supposed to report to the Vietnamese air traffic control after that but failed to do so.

The last location known was 120 nautical miles off Kota Baru, in the South China Sea. The plane was headed towards Beijing.

So far, no wreckage or signs of the aircraft and the people onboard have been found, even as 12 nations join the massive search, with 42 vessels and 39 aircraft.

The search area has also extended to the Straits of Malacca after the military’s primary radar detected an unidentified plane that made an air turn back near MH370’s last location, as well as detected an unidentified civilian aircraft 200 miles northwest of Penang, 45 minutes later. Authorities are still trying to identify the plane.

The assets are now combing 37,000 square nautical miles in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca, into the Andaman Sea, round the clock for vessels, and 12-hour operations during the day for airsearch.

* A previous version of this article contained details that could possibly identify incorrectly a person of Uighur descent who was not onboard MH370. The report has been edited to omit such references and any inconvenience is regretted.