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MAS CEO – call a spade a spade and not start the 48th National Day with a new hypocrisy in  talking about “locals” which completely exclude non-Malays

Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The government seems to have backed off quick and fast from the idea of appointing a foreigner to head the national carrier to fill the vacancy created by the sudden resignation of Datuk Ahmad Fuaad Dahlan as the MAS managing director after MAS turned in  a heavy net loss of RM280.7 million for the first quarter ended June 30.

Utusan Malaysia today reported that the government has shortlisted three local candidates who are qualified to become the new MAS managing director, and the trio included the new executive director Tengku Azmil Zahruddin Raja Abdul Aziz.  Three issues/questions come immediately to mind.

Firstly, why back off from the idea of appointing a foreigner to turnaround MAS and be a model high-performer GLC (government-linked company) if there is  no suitable local candidate for the job?

Secondly, when Fuaad’s resignation was announced last week, MAS chairman Datuk Munir Majid said he would assume the duties of the managing director while the company looked for its new CEO  over the next six months.  In the press report about MAS considering a foreigner to head MAS operations and raise its competitive level, the rationale was to have “an expatriate for several years before the post is handed over to executive director  Tengku Azmil Zaharuddin Raja Abdul Aziz” – “a mentor for Tengku Azmil prior to taking the helm”.  Has Khazanah Nasional now come to the view that Tengku Azmil is qualified to be the MAS managing director without the need to go through a period of “mentorship”?

Thirdly, are the three “local candidates” shortlisted for the post of MAS CEO all Malays or are they  Malaysians regardless of ethnicity? Is the unwritten rule that the top GLC CEOs are only reserved to bumiputeras still in force?  If so, then we should call a spade a spade and  not start the 48th National Day with a new hypocrisy in  talking about “locals” which completely exclude non-Malays.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should clarify whether the highest national interest must prevail and that the  best Malaysian candidate, regardless of whether bumiputra or non-bumiputra, would be considered for the appointment of the new MAS CEO, as MAS is a national carrier for all Malaysians and not just of any community.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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