Drop political appointees in Malaysia Airlines revival plan, union tells govt

Malaysia Airlines is owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

PETALING JAYA: The National Union of Flight Attendants (Nufam) today suggested that Putrajaya do away with the practice of political appointees in any resuscitation of Malaysia Airlines.

In welcoming the prime minister’s remark that it would take more than a change in management to revive the national carrier, Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said political appointees tended to interfere with many of the airline’s business decisions.

Ismail said such appointees were prone to make decisions based on political interest and for their own mileage.

“Malaysia Airlines’ business and decisions taken by the company should be left to those who know what is best for the airline and its customers,” he told FMT.

Ismail, who previously called on the government to review the national carrier’s management, also said the board should comprise aviation and technical experts and those with business acumen.

The board, he also said, must make decisions “without fear or favour”.

“The daily operations of Malaysia Airlines, or any airline for that matter, depend on those who can call the shots without having to worry or depend on any minister.”

Ismail added that even if the government had a stake in Malaysia Airlines, it must allow the management to make its own decisions unless there was some government-to-government arrangement involved.

Malaysia Airlines is currently owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, a government-linked company.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there were “a lot of things wrong with the airline which have to be corrected”.

He 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 of airlines.

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