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Bellew: No truth in Dr Mahathir’s accusation of ‘interference’

 | October 22, 2017

Malaysian Airlines CEO Peter Bellew says the Pakatan Harapan chairman is 100% wrong about his reason for resigning.

peter-mahathirPETALING JAYA: Malaysian Airlines CEO Peter Bellew has denied Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s claims that the former had resigned because of political interference.

“In 1981, as a prime minister, he did some great things for the country, but Tun Mahathir is completely wrong in his accusations about me over the last 72 hours.

“He is 100% wrong,” Bellew said at a press conference here, today.

Mahathir had alleged that Bellew had resigned from Malaysia Airlines Bhd because of interference from Prime Minister Najib Razak in the management of the company.

The Pakatan Harapan chairman had accused Najib of meddling in the affairs of the national carrier and acting without referring to the company’s directors or the management.

“I am sure Najib didn’t even ask Malaysia Airlines. Najib doesn’t care about the CEO’s plans or Malaysia Airlines’ options,” Mahathir had said.

Bellew said no one connected to Mahathir had contacted him on the issue to get the correct facts before making it public.

“I have had no interference from anyone on anything to do with running the business over the last two years.

“It is very simple, I just want to ‘balik kampung’. Back to Ireland, that simple.

“There is no mystery, no intrigue, no controversy about that as far as I am concerned,” he said.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan had also refuted that Bellew had quit because of dissatisfaction with Najib.

“Peter has already issued a statement and I am more inclined to believe him,” he had said.

Bellew also reiterated that his move to resign was not due to alleged interference by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, the owner of Malaysian Airlines, or any other party.

However, he declined to discuss the compensation involved from breaching his contract which was due to expire in June 2019.

Bellew said Khazanah had done its best to convince him to stay, but he had chosen to be close to his family.

Capt Izham Ismail will assume the new role as CEO on Dec 1, succeeding Bellew, who is currently on administrative leave after resigning on Oct 8 and deciding to rejoin his former employer Ryanair in Ireland.

Ryanair Holdings PLC had said in a statement last week that Bellew would rejoin the company as its chief operations officer.

Bellew will be given the specific responsibility of helping the Irish airline address a pilot staffing issue that led to major flight cancellations, the statement said.

Malaysia Airlines had described Bellew’s resignation as “unexpected”.

Bellew’s decision to step down as Malaysia Airlines Bhd CEO and managing director had also caught Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai by surprise.

Bellew said he was happy that a Malaysian was now the CEO of Malaysia Airlines .

“He (Izham) was the first person I met on the first day I started work.

“He is a great man, wonderful operator, extremely knowledgeable, very personable, I’m sure you’ll get to like him.

“He is the right man for the job, I think the staff will rally around him,” said Bellew.



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