KUALA LUMPUR – The Edge Markets says a group of businessmen led by a former AirAsia Group Bhd chairman Pahamin Ab Rajab met with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to discuss take over plans for the ailing Malaysia Airlines.
The report says Pahamin asked about helping the government turn around the national carrier.
Dr Mahathir has expressed the government’s intentions to sell the carrier but under one condition, that it remains a national carrier.
“A source close to the matter told theedgemarkets.com that during the meeting, the group had sought the approval of the premier to conduct due diligence on the national carrier in order to find the right solution,” the paper says.
Other reports say talks were on to appoint Pahamin as the chairman of Malaysia Airlines and its parent Malaysia Aviation Group Bhd.
The position is vacant after Tan Sri Mohammed Nor Md Yusof resigned on March 1.
In June, Dr Mahathir said if there is a good offer for the company and the Government is certain the potential buyer can manage the airline well, then it will consider sale offers.
Dr Mahathir had said the government have changed the airlines’ leadership many times but each time they failed in turning around the company, dashing hopes of a brilliant future for the company.
However, he cautioned the government will not sell to people who will fail again.
The Prime Minister’s media advisor had said last week he wished AirAsia, the low-cost airline competitor to Malaysia Airlines, should take over the carrier.
Ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak however believes the airline’s major shareholder Khazanah National has an existing turnaround plan that is working.
He insists that the government should pour more taxpayer money in the company to keep it afloat and that the government should not sell it off.
In June, AirAsia bagged the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline title for the 11th consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2019.
The low-cost carrier was also named Asia’s Best Low-Cost Airline and the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Premium Cabin for its Premium Flatbed, available on widebody long-haul AirAsia X aircraft.