By Mariam Mokhtar
Jun 1, 2015
MAS is not a commercial enterprise, but an offshoot of a government department, and run along government lines. It takes its orders from politicians, it bows to various political demands, it can never be re-structured unless the torrid cocktail of political patronage and building personal empires is eliminated.
After years of Ketuanan Melayu and Biro Tata Negara (BTN) spewing division, with claims that the Malays are God’s chosen people, it is ironic that the saviour of MAS is a German, Christoph Mueller.
What a slap in the face of the rakyat, the planes in the fleet are being sold off, to save some money, and yet Najib Abdul Razak and the self-styled First Lady of Malaysia (Flom) wastes millions of ringgit on a new aeroplane for ministerial junkets.
Our politicians bled MAS dry and now Mueller wants to perform a cull and punish the employees, instead of the politicians and fat cats, who sit on the management board.
It is outrageous that the people in positions of authority refuse to take any responsibility for their failures, and will probably be retained with a more lucrative package.
Khazanah is a bloated entity of smart alecs, who somehow could not translate their well-earned Oxford and Cambridge degrees into commercial and managerial success. Most Malaysians feel that the Khazanah boys simply protected the interests of their political masters and the cronies.
Herr Mueller should realise that Malaysia has enough capable people to run the show. The political will to effect changes is lacking, because the Umno Baru slogan is based on the 3 Rs – race, religion and royalty.
When Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA the precursor of MAS) was flying, and in the years after MSA split into SIA and MAS, there were capable Malaysians at the helm of MAS and SIA.
Today, we know that some Malaysians successfully lead organisations abroad, others have risen to become high commissioners and ministers of their adopted countries, and heads of foreign companies. These men and women were rejected by the Malaysian government because they belonged to the wrong race.
Mueller was given the job of revamping MAS. He listed various parameters which he said contributed to the losses in MAS. The rakyat and many decent MAS employees could have told the government the same thing, and saved the taxpayer a small fortune, but their complaints and concerns fell on deaf ears.
Tackling the three Rs
How will the new MAS – MAS Bhd, tackle the three Rs – race, religion and royalty?
Will MAS Bhd reject members of the extended royal entourages, whom the rakyat complain hog their seats (despite confirmed bookings), jump queues and allegedly are allowed to pay a much reduced or perhaps, no excess baggage fees for their van loads of shopping?
Will MAS Bhd employ Malaysians from a cross-section of society, and not predominantly Malays?
Will MAS Bhd be prepared to refuse demands of Muslim conservatives, who wish to stop the serving and sale of liquor on board, and also instigate a uniform change?
Last week, Mueller confirmed that for many years, MAS paid-out for hundreds of types of allowances, overtime claims, salaries and over-priced contracts.
Despite an internal whistleblower facility, to encourage staff members to disclose unsafe or illegal practices within the airline, many employees feared they would be blacklisted.
Yesterday, Nur Jazlan Mohamed (photo), of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), told The Malaysia Insider that it has no authority to investigate the accounts of Khazanah, MAS or any other government-linked company (GLC).
Nur Jazlan said, “This is what happened when PAC started to probe KLIA2 which comes under Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, a GLC under Khazanah, where until today the government has yet to direct the auditor-general to conduct an audit on its construction”.
Nur Jazlan agreed with the Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam), that MAS management should be punished for the waste and said “…the MAS board of directors has to be held accountable, if there had been any wastage. The government representative in the board is the one who should be looking after the interest of the people in this case, and the interest of the employees.”
Mueller must ensure that there is no political interference in the re-vamped MAS. Pigs may yet fly, before the PAC is able to scrutinise MAS and punish those who are responsible for its failures.
Maybe Mueller has been employed to restore the coffers of MAS, so that Umno Baru can milk it, again, in a few years’ time.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).