KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak urged the government not to sell or shut down Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS).
The former prime minister said MAS was the country’s pride and joy and it must continue to be the national carrier.
“It doesn’t matter if we have other airlines, MAS is still our national airline. This is our national pride and you cannot replace it with something else. Almost every country has its own national airline,“ he told reporters at the Parliament Lobby, here today.
Najib added that when he was Khazanah National Bhd’s chairman, MAS was already working on its turn around plan and it would need a bit more time to recover.
“We had a rescue plan, turn around plan. We have a major exercise that is VSS (voluntary separation scheme), we cut down the number of employees in MAS, we were about to take off some of the routes that were not profitable. But I think the airline was also affected by the downturn of tourist arrivals in Malaysia, especially from China.
“It needs a bit more time therefore there is no reason why MAS should be sold off or even closed down. That will be a wrong move and definitely the rakyat will not support the move,” he said.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is weighing the options on MAS’ future.
MAS was privatised under Khazanah, facing marginally lower losses last year due to several factors including crew shortages in the second half of 2018. — Bernama