By Mick Krever, CNN
Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, is not an extremist, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told CNN's Christiane Amanpour Wednesday.
"He supports our multi-racial coalition. He supports democratic reform. He is against any form of extremism," Anwar said of Zaharie, whom he said he has met "on a number of occasions." "And we take a very strong position in clamoring for change through constitutional and democratic means."
With frustratingly few answers about the fate of Flight 370 nearly two weeks after it disappeared, some have starting probing the possible political inclinations of crew members.
Anwar, who has been the target of ongoing attacks from the ruling government, constitutes the main Malaysian opposition.
Some have tried to tie Zaharie to Anwar as a family relation.
Anwar's press secretary told CNN that Zaharie is the opposition leader's - wait for it - son's wife's mother's father's brother's son.
"What my daughter-in-law told me is that he is a family member, not too close, but she calls him 'uncle,' which is quite common here," Anwar said. "But I know him... basically as a party activist."
There have been reports in Malaysian media that just hours before the plane took off on March 8, Shah attended a hearing for Anwar, who was sentenced to five years in jail after a court overturned his 2012 acquittal on a sodomy charge.
"He was not in the court," Anwar said. "He may have been outside in the premises of the court, because the court has a limited capacity. But from what I gather, from many of our colleagues, nobody actually saw him in the premises of the court."
Could Zaharie have had a particularly strong reaction to the sentencing of the party leader to which he was a devotee?
"I gathered later from many of his colleagues and from what is written about him that he was disturbed - many others were disturbed. I mean, we were shocked and appalled by the speed of the process of the court of appeal."
"But I think that's quite normal. I don't think it's something that would trigger a person of his expertise, caliber, to do any unwanted activity. I am absolutely certain of that."
Most theories about the fate of Flight 370 now point to the plane turning back over the Malaysian peninsula after its initial heading northwest towards its final destination, Beijing.
Malaysian officials should have been able to detect the plane if it flew back west, Anwar said.
"When they procured that Radar Marconi system in that Northern corridor, I happened to be the finance minister," he told Amanpour. "They had the capability to detect any flight from the west - or from the east to the west coast, from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean."
The Malaysian government has become the target of passionate anger from the families of the missing passengers, who have gotten few answers about the fate of their loved ones.
"I find it shocking that (the government officials) are not able, that they were not able, or they give some very scanty sort of information."
"The problem is credibility of the leadership. They are culpable because there is a general perception that they are not opening up, that there is an opaque system at work."
Malaysian officials have defended their handling of the crisis, stressing that the situation is unprecedented.
"This is not a normal investigation," Hishammuddin Hussein, the country's defense and transport minister, said last week.Follow @camanpour