KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the government will ensure that the name ‘Malaysia’ is retained in any decision made in relation to the Malaysia Airlines Berhad (Malaysia Airlines) recovery plan.
He said the government has received many proposals on the recovery of Malaysia Airlines, including from companies interested in taking over the national carrier.
However, he said, the government has yet to decide whether to sell the airline, collaborate with any company or participate in the airline’s recovery.
“But, one thing that we want to be retained is that the name of the company must be related to our country, Malaysia. We cannot sell the company, so much so that the name is completed removed,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.
Dr Mahathir was replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) on whether the government has identified the company to take over or collaborate with Malaysia Airlines.
Dr Mahathir said any decision on the future of the airline will also take into account the welfare of the staff.
“We hope that we do not have to retrench employees in whatever action that we take but if they opt to work with another company, then the decision is theirs.
“We will not terminate their service. Our condition for the buyer or partner is that there will be no reduction in the number of employees at MAS now,” he said when replying to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) who expressed the hope that none of the employees will be retrenched.
Dr Mahathir also said that the government also took into account the importance of communication between Sabah and Sarawak which depends on air travel.
“We have no intention of terminating the MASwings rural air service and low-cost flights. Everything will be taken into account,” he said.
He also said that the government sees Malaysia Airlines as a strategic asset that will continue to be maintained and subjected to recovery.
“Nevertheless, the recovery effort will not be successful if we only express our determination with various plans but do not follow these up with earnest efforts.
“The sacrifice of all quarters involved, particularly the management and staff of Malaysia Airlines Berhad is crucial in improving service quality, optimising returns on expenditure and prioritising productivity,” he said.
He also said that the people’s support is necessary for the efforts to return the national carrier to a status to be proud of.
Dr Mahathir was replying to the original question, from Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (PH-Jeli), on the measures the government has taken to improve the company’s performance and how effective they have been to date.
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