Govt gets 4 offers to take over MAB, says Dr Mahathir

However, no decision has been made on the offers yet


THE government has received four offers from companies interested in taking over national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said no decision has been made on the offers yet and the government needs to carefully consider all the proposals.

“Many people have made offers — some want to buy, some only want to manage. We are looking closely at these proposals,” he said, noting that previous turnaround initiatives on the airline, as well as its many management changes, have failed.

“So we must find somebody with the experience,” he told the media after attending the closing of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Conference 2019 in Putrajaya yesterday.

He was asked to comment on his recent meeting with AirAsia Group Bhd co-founder Datuk Pahamin Ab Rajab.

In the meeting, Pahamin and his business partners had reportedly pledged to turn the company around in 18 months and assured there would be no job cuts.

Dr Mahathir said a number of local companies had submitted proposals to take over MAB, confident in their ability to revive it, although he noted the ailing airline has failed to be profitable even after the appointment of several people to help turn it around.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the production of national cars is not only aimed to expand the manufacturing industry in the country, but also to serve as a platform to train many skilled workers in the automotive industry.

He said the automotive industry could churn out many skilled workers because a car has 4,000 parts where their methods of production and installation must be learnt.

“Now we know how to make a car, and when we know how to design and produce cars, we also learn the engineering involved. We have learnt many things from just one industry,” he said at the dialogue session of the conference.

He said this when replying to a question from Datuk Madani Sahari, the CEO of the Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute, on TVET as an effective method in resolving the problems of the gap between the workers’ skills and the needs of the automotive industry.

Dr Mahathir said players in the automotive industry must always enhance their capacities in line with the sophistication of the current vehicle manufacturing technology.

Unlike the manufacturing of the first national car Proton Saga, he said, the current manufacturing of cars were far more complex and involved the installation of up to 200 computer microchips to enable a car to be driven more easily.

“Now, we not only instal cars, but we also oversee the engine or robot that instals the cars, so how we supervise these machines is also a skill needed to manufacture cars in this era.

“The cars can now go on their own and we can talk to the cars, ordering them to go here and there. The first Proton Saga could not (do this), but if we buy Proton X70, we can talk to the car — if we sit alone in the car, people will say we are mad,” he said in jest.

Dr Mahathir said the other industries like the aerospace also required many skilled workers as they were among the biggest industries producing components, with Malaysia now producing parts of the airplane components for Airbus SE and Boeing Co.

He said the first time the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition was held in 1991, not one component produced by Malaysia was exhibited, but now, almost the entire exhibition comprised Malaysian-made goods.

“I am confident that Malaysians are no less qualified than the other nationalities. The question is whether they want it or not. If we don’t want to learn, we will be left behind,” he said. — Bernama