PM discloses four takeover offers for Malaysia Airlines so far, but no decision yet

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the closing of the 2019 TVET Conference in Putrajaya July 9, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attends the closing of the 2019 TVET Conference in Putrajaya July 9, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, July 9 — Four separate offers have been made to the government for ailing national carrier Malaysia Airlines Berhad, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

However, the prime minister added that no decision has been made as the government is still studying the proposals.

“No decision yet, only people making offers. There those who wants to buy, there are those who want to manage. We are still studying the proposals.

“There are many ideas. Currently, there are four proposals,” he told the press after closing the 2019 TVET Conference at the Marriott hotel here.

A group of businessmen led by former AirAsia Group Bhd chairman Datuk Pahamin Rajab reportedly met Dr Mahathir last week to discuss taking over the ailing national carrier.

Today, Dr Mahathir revealed that most inquiries so far have been from local entities.

He also expressed concerns about the corporate suitors’ ability to properly manage the country’s flag carrier and its chronic losses.

The government has tried four times in recent years to revive the airline with unconvincing results.

“Well they think they are capable but we appointed many people before, all of them prove unable,” he said, referring to local corporate figures previously tasked with resuscitating Malaysia Airlines’s fortunes.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that Malaysia Airlines’ prospects were additionally threatened by the rise of low-cost carriers.

Last week, veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin claimed that Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s board rejected a bid to shut down Malaysia Airlines and the government to date has attempted four turnaround initiatives without success and at a cost of RM25 billion to the government.

Khazanah had also delisted the airline in 2014 as part of a revival bid but the move did not stem its chronic losses that remain until today.

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