Union wants probe into proposed AirAsia takeover of Malaysia Airlines

The government has been looking for a strategic partner for Malaysia Airlines.

PETALING JAYA: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) is calling the authorities to probe a proposed takeover of Malaysia Airlines by AirAsia Group Berhad, which was detailed in documents recently leaked to the media.

Nufam said such deals needed to be investigated as there had been too many attempts by some parties to buy the national carrier at a cheap rate.

Focus Malaysia recently reported that the budget airline’s proposed takeover would include key exclusions which will take the initial cost to Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which owns Malaysia Airlines, to over RM8 billion.

These include an RM5.4 billion financing gap for Malaysia Airlines’ six A380s, the exclusion of cost from staff layoffs, and the cost of cancelling 25 Boeing 737 MAX 8 orders.

According to Focus Malaysia, Khazanah managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan and the management were in favour of the deal but “it was shot down by the board”.

The sovereign wealth fund has since lodged a police report over the leak of the documents.

Nufam said the proposed deal with AirAsia was “very alarming”.

“What deal is this when the seller has to fork out more to sell an ailing airline company? There are people taking advantage of Malaysia Airlines’ current situation.

“Nufam is urging the authorities to investigate if there are elements of corruption at play in the sale of Malaysia Airlines.”

The union was also surprised that Khazanah lodged a police report over the leaked documents.

Nufam said something was not right in Khazanah as someone there seemed to be unhappy with the exposure of the deal.

“But who would be happy if the government has to fork out another RM8 billion on this sale proposal? This is absolute madness,” it said, adding that someone in Khazanah “is making the wrong decisions all these years”.