An unruly man who launched a disorderly rant on a Malaysia Airlines flight forcing the plane to turn around has become the latest scandal in the carrier’s troubled history.
A dramatic video showed Muhammad Ali Arif calling himself a “slave of Allah” before challenging fellow passengers to repeat that they were also “slaves of Allah” on flight MH122 on Monday night.
Witnesses said the drama unfolded about 45 minutes after the Airbus-A330 took off when he reached into his bag and claimed there was something “dangerous” inside.
The flight crew members then examined the bag and found nothing dangerous inside.
The plane landed in Sydney just before 4pm before Arif was arrested by police three hours later, held overnight and charged on Tuesday.
Malaysia Airlines has been plagued with controversy in the past, with the airline receiving bomb threats, a staff member accused of sexual assault and a number of planes crashing killing hundreds of passengers.
A dramatic video showed a man, who said his name was Mohammed, calling himself a ‘slave of Allah’ as he harassed fellow passengers on a Malaysia Airlines flight
Six years ago, Sri Lankan Manodh Marks threatened to blow up a Malaysian Airlines flight after it took off from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 128, which had 222 people on board, was heading from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur on May 31, 2017.
Marks, 25, who was on the ice, boarded the Airbus and ran to the cockpit during the takeoff period claiming he had a bomb.
He held devices with flashing blue lights in each hand as he attempted to enter the cockpit and threatened to “blow up the fucking plane”.
The captain had to call air traffic control and turn back after a crew member gave the hijack code of “romeo romeo”.
The devices were later revealed to be a portable speaker and a battery.
Marks was overpowered by passengers and restrained by cable ties until the flight landed at Melbourne Airport.
He was then arrested by heavily armed police who stormed the plane.
The man, 45, was arrested by Australian Federal Police as passengers were safely evacuated from the plane in Sydney
Marks, who was the first person in Australia to be imprisoned for attempting to take control of a plane, will be deported to Colombo upon his release.
In 2016, Laura Bushney sued Malaysia Airlines for more than $200,000 after claiming she was sexually assaulted by a flight attendant.
Ms Bushney was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Paris on August 4, 2014, when she was allegedly assaulted by chief steward Mohd Rosli Bin Ab Karim.
She claimed Mr Rosli sat next to her under the guise of comforting her as she was afraid of flying before he allegedly put his hand down her pants.
As a result, Mr. Rosli was fired from Malaysia Airlines. He spent years behind bars in Paris and then almost a year under house arrest.
French law firm Lasek said Mr Rosli was found not guilty during his court hearing, according to The Australian.
Ms Bushney tried to appeal the decision, but it was eventually withdrawn.
It comes six years after Sri Lankan man Manodh Marks threatened to blow up a Malaysian Airlines flight after it took off from Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne.
Armed police stormed the plane after Marks made the threats. He was arrested shortly after they boarded
The most notable and tragic incidents that thrust Malaysia Airlines into the spotlight were the fate of flights MH370 and MH17 in 2014.
Flight MH17, which had 298 passengers on board, including 38 Australians, was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17.
The plane was shot down by a BUK missile fired from territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, killing everyone on the flight.
Two former Russian intelligence officers – Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky – along with Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, who worked for Russia, were found guilty of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile in a Dutch court.
Foreign Secretary Penny Wong announced in June that Australia had imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on the three men responsible.
Flight MH370 was heading from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it suddenly disappeared on March 8, 2014.
Some 26 countries took part in the four-year, $200 million international research effort, which covered more than 120,000 m². It was the costliest research effort in aviation history.
Girkin and three others were found guilty of shooting down flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Pictured: People walk among the debris at the crash site
On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 took off into the night sky of Kuala Lumpur, never to be seen or heard from again (pictured, the missing plane taking off in France in 2011)
The wreckage was never located. However, several pieces of debris believed to be from the flight washed up on beaches in the western Indian Ocean in 2015 and 2016.
The plane is thought to have probably crashed in the Indian Ocean, west of Australia.
There were 239 people on board the flight including six Australians.
The man at the center of Monday’s rant was arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP) as passengers were safely evacuated from the plane.
The disruption blocked all flights to and from Sydney Airport for several hours, causing widespread chaos in travel across the country which is expected to continue for days.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb confirmed on Tuesday that charges had been brought against the passenger at the center of the rant.