Malaysia Airlines needs more than a management change, says Dr M

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks at the 33rd Asia Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said it would take more than a change in management to resuscitate Malaysia Airlines, amid calls for a shake-up at the national carrier.

“There are a lot of things wrong with the airline which have to be corrected,” he told reporters after officiating the 33rd Asia Pacific Roundtable here.

The prime minister was responding to calls by two Malaysia Airlines veterans, including a former CEO, for an overhaul of the carrier’s management following its failure for the fifth year in a row to reach the top 20 in an international survey on airlines.

He said the government had been making changes to Malaysia Airlines, but that these had all failed.

“So this time, we have to be a little more careful in the steps we take to resuscitate Malaysia Airlines.”

When asked about potential buyers, Mahathir said the government would like to sell the airline.

“But we would like to retain its identity,” he added.

In March, Mahathir said several local and foreign firms had expressed interest in buying Malaysia Airlines.

He also said Putrajaya was still studying options for the financially troubled national carrier.

Earlier today, FMT reported Mohd Jabarullah Abdul Kadir, former adviser to the Malaysia Airlines System Employees Union, and former Malaysia Airlines CEO and managing director Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman as saying that the national carrier had “lost its class”.

This followed the results of Skytrax’s annual World’s Top 100 Airlines survey which showed that Malaysia Airlines had dropped two spots from 36th last year.

Malaysia Airlines has not ranked in the top 20 since 2014 when it occupied 18th spot, dropping from 24th in 2015 to 34th in 2016, bagging 31st spot in 2017 and 34th again last year.

The results also earned the airline scorn from the National Union of Flight Attendants which urged the top management to step down.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the toxic gas in Pasir Gudang which has seen schools closed and students hospitalised, Mahathir said such an incident should not have occurred, especially on the heels of a similar situation in Sungai Kim Kim.

“But it seems the industry is not too concerned about safety.

“This is why we must identify the culprits and take stern action against them,” he said.