by Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Vice-Chairman and MP for Kepong
in Kuala Lumpur
MAS separated from Singapore International Airlines, SIA, in 1971. Since then, the two international airlines have had a different fate. SIA is flying high and MAS gliding low.
MAS's assets were massive. When Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli bought the airline at RM 8.30 per share, some people expected it to go up to RM14 or 16. When the Government paid RM8 per share to buy the controlling shares back from Tajuddin last year for RM1.79 billion, the market value was just over RM3.00.
After the re-nationalization of MAS, the Government is preparing to manage the domestic service that was losing about RM360 million a year, the debt and the losses of over RM10 billion separately. Then, it will re-privatize MAS with no baggage of losses and debts. This is meant to be a corporate restructuring.
The Government owns 83% of MAS. It is buying the airline's assets of aircrafts, property and equipment by putting them in the special-purpose vehicles (SPVs) before leasing them to a new company. We hope that it only appoints a truly worthy company. Let us do away with cronyism and nepotism.
An officer in MAS has reported to the police for suspected irregularities. We don't know if the police or the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has started investigations. Did subsidiary companies of Tajuddin such as catering, engineering and agency to purpose Boeing aircrafts strip MAS of its assets?
We will continue to remind the Government of the MAS scandal and the need for a detailed report.