Asia Malaysia Netizens View: Malaysia Airlines personify worst case of crony capitalism

Netizens View: Malaysia Airlines personify worst case of crony capitalism

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By Veronica Cordoba

Netizens in Malaysia are not always kind to the turbulent Malaysia Airlines which is facing difficulties to re-establish it’s dominance in the highly competitive industry.

Economist Professor Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram on June 28 says given the capital-intensive nature of the airline business and the difficult times and business conditions makes it more difficult to resuscitate the airline.

He says the tough airline industry make it difficult, citing airlines in the US facing bankruptcy, says Jomo, Khazanah Research Institute senior research adviser.

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Responding to his statement, netizens in Malaysia are of the view the airline personifies the worst case of crony capitalism which they say was rampant under the Barisan Nasional regime.

One netizen using the handle Malaysian commented on Malaysiakini the root of the Malaysia Airlines’ problem lies in Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s horrible legacy. “Mahathir took a profitable MAS and gave it to his crony for a song.”

The ‘Malaysian’ says the airline should take the same route like Proton, the national car maker sold to Geely of China. “Under Geely leadership it is already profitable within two years. We need to do the same with MAS. Forget the crony-race factor and you will have success. Everything is about good leadership – it begins and ends with this.”

Another netizen, Teh Tarik says, “It’s AirAsia which has made Kuala Lumpur a major airline hub in Asia. MAS has played second fiddle to AirAsia. Just close the airline and save taxpayers’ funds. MAS today is of negligible strategic importance to the country. Instead, it is a huge burden on the nation’s coffers.”

The comments were compiled by Malaysiakini and are the views of the subscribers of the portal. However, they reflect the views of a large number of Malaysians who believe the airline is not performing.

Vent says: Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman (CEO and MD at MAS from 1982 to 1992) was just plain lucky he took over from Saw Huat Lye, the first chief operating officer (1972–1982) who is reported to have said, “We were the underdogs… We had to do everything ourselves, design our logo, decide on toothpicks, learn to create a flight kitchen… our families did not see us for almost two years. Our home was our office. Every Sunday, every holiday, we worked.”

Anonymous_1399778124 is also straight forward, “Let’s call a spade a spade. The last few times the government bailed out MAS, it was handed to cronies. So who’s to blame? It was as if government coffers were bottomless. So we inherited the culture and problems from those days. And it will take more than a spade to clean the mess. This is why the rakyat (public) are angry.”

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