Foreign companies eyeing stake in Malaysia Airlines, says Daim

People walk under a Malaysia Airlines sign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic
People walk under a Malaysia Airlines sign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Several foreign companies, including from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, are keen to acquire a stake in Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), the Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin said.

He said they do not necessarily take over the whole company but may hold only part of the national carrier’s interest that is currently 100 per cent owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

“Alhamdulillah, those who are keen to buy MAB stocks are either from Asia, Europe and the Middle East. They have expressed their wish to the government and some have written to me.

“They can do research on the company (MAB),” he said in an interview on TV3’s prime-time Buletin Utama tonight.

Daim said the aviation sector is increasingly complex and complicated, and huge funds and expertise are extremely important to grow the business.

Consequently, he said if part of MAB’s interest is sold to a foreign company, it will get capital injections and expertise, indirectly restoring the company.

“It is okay if others want to buy our stocks, if they want to bring in expertise, then bring it,” he said.

He said the government should not interfere with the national carrier’s operations and it is suffice to lend its support it by helping to secure landing rights at strategic locations.

Daim, however, does not see the need to review the proposed merger of Malaysia Airlines and Airasia as previously mentioned.

“Malaysia Airlines is a premium airline, while AirAsia is a low-cost carrier. It is better that they compete ... (We get) better value then,” he said.

Daim said whatever the government decides, the future and welfare of MAB’s employees should be safeguarded as they are the ones who would bring the company out of the financial problems. — Bernama

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