Reports of plans by the co-founder of AirAsia to save ailing Malaysia Airlines sparked criticism from a blogger. The latter, Ganesh Sahathevan says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad help build the low-cost airliner.
But this begs the question why is the national carrier failing while AirAsia is a success?
The blogger says AirAsia Group Bhd’s co-founder and former chairman Pahamin Ab Rajab, who met Dr Mahathir on July 4th is not a civil servant and is not a version of Lee Iacocca the man who saved Chrysler Motors.
“Pahamin is a civil servant. Tony Fernandes did their thing at Pacific Eagle, as AirAsia was once known, with a lot of help from the then Mahathir government.
“Pahamin should not pretend that he is a Malaysian version of the Lee Iacocca, who passed away recently, and is best known for saving Chrysler Motors.”
Yesterday The Independent reported the meeting between a group of businessmen led by Pahamin and Dr Mahathir in a story outsourced from The Edge Financial Daily.
The group expressed their interest in helping the government turn around the ailing Malaysia Airlines Bhd and sought the approval of Dr Mahathir, who is also chairman of Khazanah Nasional Bhd — the sole shareholder of Malaysia Airlines — to conduct due diligence on the national carrier to find the right solution.
According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia’s (SSM) filing, Malaysia Airlines’ net loss increased 85% year-on-year to RM812.11 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17). It lost RM2.35 billion between 2015 and 2017, The Edge says.
“Air Asia Bhd began life in 1993 as a subsidiary of the Malaysian Government owned HICOM Bhd. HICOM Bhd was a company brought into existence at the behest of the then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad ,who continued to take an active role in its development, overseeing its ventures,” says Sahathevan in a blog post dated July 4.
So the question remains: Why is AirAsia successful and competitive while Malaysia Airlines sucked in billions of tax-payer money without no signs of a financial turnaround on the horizon?