by RAHIMI YUNUS
GROUP CEOs of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) have presented a united front against the Subang Airport takeover proposal.
MAHB group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh and his counterpart at MAG, Captain Izham Ismail, have submitted a letter to Transport Ministry (MoT) secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak dated April 24, pleading the government to let MAHB proceed with its “Subang Airport Regeneration” plan.
“Based on our arguments and to avoid potential negative implications, we recommend and plead to the Malaysian government to give a chance for MAHB to implement the ‘Subang Airport Regeneration” as tabled to you and MoT not long ago.
“MAHB is ready and confident to execute the plan immediately after obtaining the approval from the Malaysian government compared to any other private companies that surely would take two to three years of regulatory processes and the Malaysian government procedures before development works could start,” the letter read.
A MAHB representative confirmed the letter with The Malaysian Reserve while a representative of MAG was unable to confirm because all correspondence is strictly private and confidential.
Mohd Shukrie and Izham highlighted a handful of risks faced by two companies and national interests associated with a recent proposal by a private entity for a re-concession of Subang Airport, formally known as the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport.
The two CEOs said the proposal would affect the principles of the operating agreements between MAHB and the government; curb Malaysia’s potential as a maintenance, repair and overhaul hub; affect the Kuala Lumpur International Airport as a global aviation hub; impact MAG such as by cannibalising and disrupting the traffic of Malaysia Airlines Bhd and FlyFirefly Sdn Bhd; and impact MAHB such as on its sukuk and ratings.
MAHB workers unions had previously asked MAHB to remove WCT Holdings Bhd as a business partner after the company submitted a proposal to take over operations at the airport.
The unions said outsourcing would cannibalise the group’s ambition of becoming a true national airport operator.
WCT currently handles operations of Subang’s Skypark Terminal through its Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd.
A growing number of politicians are against such a proposal, citing Subang Airport as a strategic asset with its location that should remain in the hands of the government instead of a private entity.