Hishammuddin says pilot and co-pilot did not request to fly together

As the focus of the investigation into the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 shifted to the two pilots, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today that the pilot and co-pilot did not request to fly together.

The defence minister and acting transport minister, however, said that police were looking at the pilot’s home flight simulator and had just searched the home of the co-pilot.

Hishammuddin also said that Malaysia had been working with international law enforcement agencies since day one.

ABC News earlier reported that Malaysia turned down Interpol's help to help find flight MH370.

Hishammuddin said the Malaysian authorities are refocusing their investigation on all crew and passengers on board MH370, as well as all ground staff handling the aircraft.

"Yesterday, officers from the Royal Malaysia Police visited the home of the pilot. They spoke to family members of the pilot and experts are examining the pilot’s flight simulator," he said, referring to Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

On co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, Hishammuddin said: "The police also visited the home of the co-pilot. According to Malaysian Airlines, the pilot and co-pilot did not ask to fly together on MH370."

Meanwhile CNN reported that US intelligence officials are leaning toward the theory that "those in the cockpit" were responsible for the mysterious disappearance of the commercial jetliner, a US official with direct knowledge of the latest thinking told CNN.

The revelation followed news that Malaysian authorities searched the home of the pilot, a move that came the same day that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told reporters the plane veered off course due to apparent deliberate action taken by somebody on board.

A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity told CNN that the decision to search the homes of the pilot and co-pilot was made in the last 24 to 36 hours, when radar and satellite data came to light.

The official emphasised that no final conclusions had been drawn and all the internal intelligence discussions were based on preliminary assessments of what is known to date.

The Ministry of Transport earlier said that police were examining a flight simulator found at the pilot's house a day earlier.

Two vans were loaded with small bags, similar to shopping bags, at the home of the co-pilot, according to a CNN crew who observed activities at the residence. It was unclear whether the bags were taken from the home. – March 16, 2014.