KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — The sale of MASwings to the Sarawak state government is taking some time and the Malaysian Aviation Group (MAG) said despite its challenges they are committed to seeing the sale by the end of the year.

MAG group managing director Datuk Captain Izham Ismail said the delay is because it's a huge undertaking and the company wants to make sure both parties will benefit from the deal and ultimately the consumers benefit from it.

“MAG is steadfast in supporting the Sarawak state government in fulfilling the agreement we signed in 2023 but all of us should acknowledge that a transaction of such scale is not an easy task,” said Izham today at the launch of MAG's annual report for 2023.

“It encompasses valuation, due diligence, and agreement from service providers that serve us currently. Many doors need to be opened and closed, and most importantly the utmost governance and integrity of both parties are not shortchanged.

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“A clear transaction where nobody loses and gains and it's for the benefit of the country and nation. MAG and Khazanah are committed to ensuring both parties work hand in hand to ensure we achieve those targets. I have to say in any agreement it will typically take a year or more but in this case, it's a very fast accelerated merger and acquisition and is unprecedented,” he said.

Meanwhile, Group Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Bryan Foong said they were trying to be out of MASwings by December.

“For us, we are working very hard to meet the timelines and expectations of Sarawak and there have been announcements of trying to secure something tangible by March and MAG not have involvement with MAS wings by the end of 2024. Those are the timelines that we are working towards.

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“But I'll say it takes both parties to work closely together to achieve that,” he added.

The Sarawak government will upgrade MASwings to a regional airline from a rural air service provider after its takeover from the federal authorities.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had said that they wanted to expand its air connectivity to nearby regions, especially Hong Kong, Shenzhen in China, Singapore, Indonesia and other South-East Asian countries.

He said two state ministries, namely the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts and the Ministry of Transport, are currently conducting due diligence on the matter.