KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian government will ensure that the country’s name is retained in any decision made in relation to the Malaysia Airlines recovery plan, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Wednesday (Jul 10).
This comes after his announcement in March that the government was considering whether to shut, sell or refinance the struggling national carrier.
The airline has been trying to transform its operations, and return to profitability by 2019, as it continues to recover from two disasters in 2014, when flight MH370 disappeared in what remains a mystery and when flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Dr Mahathir said the government had received many proposals on the recovery of Malaysia Airlines, including from companies interested in taking over the national carrier.
However, he said, the government had yet to decided whether to sell the airline, collaborate with any company or participate in the airline’s recovery.
The government was also looking to form strategic cooperation with other airlines as part of the efforts to save Malaysia Airlines, the New Straits Times reported. This includes the memorandum of understanding signed between Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines, Dr Mahathir said.
“Japan Airlines had also previously faced similar problems due to competition from low-cost carriers, but it managed to recover,” he said, as quoted by the New Straits Times.
“We are also looking at a wider scope including sharing of best practices, cargo services and cooperation in tourism.
“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 completely removed.”
Dr Mahathir was replying to a supplementary question in parliament from Ismail Sabri Yaakob, an UMNO party member, on whether the government has identified the company to take over or collaborate with Malaysia Airlines.