Putrajaya not ruling out selling Malaysia Airlines, says PM

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
People walk under a Malaysia Airlines sign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 8, 2014. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reiterated today that the sale of flag carrier Malaysia Airlines Berhad is still an option to stem the financial bleed.

The prime minister told reporters in Parliament that both local and foreign parties had expressed interest in buying the airlines that is still commonly known as MAS.

“We can see that even though a foreigner had been selected to manage the airliner, MAS had still faced losses.

“Therefore, one of the ways [to save it] is by selling,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the government is still considering maintaining its stake in the financially-troubled airline.

“We are looking into it as well. Whether to change management, downsize or upsize... we have a lot of airplanes that are not fully utilised and this causes losses.

“I love MAS. I would like to have it as our national airline but it seems like we cannot afford it,” he said.

Last week, Dr Mahathir had said the government is looking at shutting down, selling off, or refinancing the national carrier.

The airline was privatised in 2014 as part of a revival bid but continued its trend of heavy losses.

Malaysia Airlines suffered a massive blow to its image after Flight MH370 disappeared five years ago with 239 people on board.

In July the same year, it lost another plane, MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine.

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