MAS 4Billion Bonds to repay loan owed to CIMB – the bank headed by the brother of Prime Minister

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May 25: PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub suggested it could be cheaper to start a new airline than spending billions of ringgit to keep the ailing national flag carrier alive.

Saying many of recovery plans for Malaysia Airlines System have ended up saving government-linked cronies instead, Salahuddin questioned whether it would cheaper to start from scratch.

“Has the government calculated how much money had been spent to save MAS?” he asked.

Referring to the proposal to raise RM4 billion from bonds and loans, Salahuddin said he was informed that the first stage of the fund raised through the exercise would be used to repay loans owed to CIMB, the bank headed by Nazir Razak, the brother of prime minister Najib Razak.

The Kubang Kerian member of parliament also criticised MAS’s cost cutting plans with its offer of two years’ unpaid leave for employers to find new jobs.

“How are they going to survive? UMNO leaders can say they can look for other jobs or going into business, but with less opportunities and high cost of starting a business, employees will feel the burden.”

He also questioned whether those who were paid high salaries by the airlines even without much contribution would be affected, such as MAS advisor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the former prime minister.

“If he and others like him go on unpaid leave, much money can be saved,” he chided.

Catering contract

Salahuddin reiterated the view that MAS’s woes were due to political interference and policies to safeguard cronies.

“For instance, the food catering contract to MAS is not only expensive but it is for a period of 25 years. No one in the right mind dares to predict that MAS can rebound under such circumstances,” he said.

Earlier this week, MAS said it required critical funding to turn the company around following the share-swap fiasco with low-cost budget airline AirAsia.

MAS which registered its worst ever annual loss of RM2.5 billion in February said it might seek help of its main investor, Khazanah Nasional.

In response, Khazanah director Azman Mokhtar said the funds expected by the national carrier would be tied to its performance.

Prior to this, the BN government claimed the share-swap was the best way to save the airline. The plan was abandoned recently, nine months later. – HarakahDaily