The sad fate of our national carrier


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By John Isaac

Because of some incompetent, greedy people, thousands stand to suffer over the fate of our national carrier, Malaysia Airlines.

According to sources, employees were already very worried over their future and many were looking at other options.

It would indeed be very sad for Malaysians to lose their national carrier which has for years been their pride and joy.

Back then in 1994 when Tajuddin Ramli bought a controlling stake in MAS, the company had RM600 million cash, but when the Umno crony left in 2001, the airline was left with RM9.4 billion losses!

The government then bailed out the airline and for about three years from 2002, MAS saw some profits.

However, due to unforeseen circumstances, including fuel prices, it suffered losses of RM1.25 billion in 2005.

Idris Jala was then roped in and he helped turn MAS around and it returned to profits again from 2006 to 2010.

According to reports in financetwitter.com, the turnaround plan by Idris was unsustainable and the company recorded losses of RM2.52 billion in 2011 and never recovered. 

In fact, MAS was “technically bankrupt” by 2014, as acknowledged by Christopher Mueller before the German businessman, hired as the new CEO to turnaround MAS, could even begin his job in Malaysia.

Recently, former premier, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said he was against any move to sell Malaysia Airlines and that he already had a turnaround plan in place.

On March 12, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government will conduct a study to decide the fate of MAS. 

Back then, even Idria Jala, who was one of Najib's trusted men at the time, admitted that the government should sell MAS as it was the best business decision, not a political move.

Tajuddin Ramli started looting the company as soon as he took over MAS in 1994 and everybody knew the story how Tajuddin conspired with three other MAS officers and directors to plunder the national airline’s coffers.

Through two nominee companies, one in Singapore and the other in Hong Kong, Tajuddin and his cronies established a company called Advanced Cargo Logistics GmbH Germany at Hahn Airport in Frankfurt, Germany, to provide ground-handling services for MAS. 

And guess who were the directors of the company? They were Tajudin’s own brother (Bistamam Ramli) and sister-in-law (Rizana Mohd Daud).

Munir Majid, the MAS chairman from 2004-2011 continued the plundering culture adopted by all the Umno cronies and appointees. 

He helped himself to RM1.56 million paintings for his office, not to mention his office renovation to the tune of RM841,000 and the  RM60 million paid to about 20 foreign consultants to do, well, basically nothing at MAS. 

To the horror of MAS staff, those foreign senior executives also enjoyed special perks such as car schemes where their choice of cars was subsidised by MAS for up to 70%.

During Munir’s 7-years in office, MAS was bloated with tons of senior executives. At one time, there were a staggering 55 Assistant General Managers (RM13,000 per month), General Managers (RM16,000 per month) and Senior General Managers (RM20,000 per month) in the company. 

The most expensive of them was Chris Andrew. He was paid a mind-boggling RM7,250 per day!

And who can forget MAS’ 25-year exclusive catering contract worth RM6.5 billion with Brahim’s Airline Catering, the same company owned by former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s brother, Ibrahim Badawi, which charged MAS a whopping RM60 for a nasi lemak.

Najib should be the last person on planet Earth to talk about national pride, not after what he had done to the country with his 1MDB scandal. Perhaps he has forgotten how the national carrier suffered a massive blow to its image after Flight MH370 disappeared five years ago under his regime, not to mention the loss of another plane, MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine.

Najib should also remember that it was him, in an attempt to suck up to President Donald Trump so that the U.S. could drop the 1MDB investigations, had irresponsibly pledged to buy eight wide-body Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and ten 737-MAX10 aircraft, putting more financial pressure on MAS.

In total, about RM30 billion of yours and my money has been used to bail out MAS over the years - all thanks to the greed, corruption and stupidity of certain individuals.

It is sad that those who have been loyal and faithful to MAS all these years are now left to worry about their future, while those who plundered the airline are now living in luxury.

Well, you have have escaped in this life, but you will have to pay for all you have done, someday soon.