by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH & SHAZNI ONG / pic by TMR File
Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) has contacted Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu to resolve his dissatisfaction over the airline and apologised for its service which had interfered with the minister’s duty.
Mohamad blamed the airline for missing a scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in London when his flight was held back for over two hours.
“I have spoken with the CEO of MAB and it is all good. Malaysia Airlines will always be my choice to fly domestically and internationally.
“MAS had apologised…and it is common [for airlines to delay their flights]. I hope MAB will improve its services as it is the nation’s pride,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Defence’s (Mindef) Hari Raya celebration in Kuala Lumpur today.
In a statement, the airline said the delay was caused by technical issues and that a swift clearance and an alternative flight were arranged for the minister and his delegates who were en route to Paris, upon their arrival at Heathrow Airport.
Commenting on the government’s decision on the prospect of the airline to be sold, Mohamad said he has not been in contact with any parties interested in buying the national carrier.
“What was mentioned by the Prime Minister on the state of the airline is his own opinion. MAB must compete with other airlines in providing good services.
“Even at the recent Paris Airshow, there was no discussion on selling the airline with any interested parties,” he said.
The PM has mentioned that the government is prepared to sell the national and that careful steps are being taken to “resuscitate” MAB after several failed turnaround attempts.
Meanwhile, Mohamad said Mindef has been in discussion with the National Security Council (NSC) to restructure and strengthen the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
“The state of Sabah’s east coast waters has always been at the centre of our meeting with NSC.
“We are considering the Sabah government’s views on the security level at the coast and further actions will be decided by both Mindef and NSC,” he said.
The Sabah government has expressed its cooperation on Royal Malaysian Police’s plans restructure the security order due the threat of the Abu Sayyaf militant group despite the establishment of Esscom.
Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador previously said Sabah’s coast received threats on a daily basis as militant groups could easily enter Malaysian waters.
On a separate matter, Mohamad said the ministry has been continuously investigating the transactions under Mindef to identify more dubious deals following the ministry’s revelation of losing RM500 million in land swaps deals.
“The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating all reported land transactions and we will leave it to them to take action.
“In the meantime, we are still looking at other deals that might had been negotiated and managed not according to the law,” he said.