The head of a key advisory council to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad says companies from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are interested in investing in Malaysia Airlines Berhad.
Council of Eminent Persons chairman Daim Zainuddin said companies keen to buy stock in the parent company of Malaysia Airlines had “expressed their wish to the government and some have written to me”.
He told Malaysia’s TV3 that selling part of MAB to a foreign firm would bring in capital and expertise to restore the company.
“It is okay if others want to buy our stocks, if they want to bring in expertise, then bring it,” he said.
However, Daim poured cold water on the idea of a merger with Malaysia Airlines and Low-cost powerhouse AirAsia.
He said it was better for the full-service airline and low-cost carrier to compete and deliver better value.
The comments come after Mahathir earlier this month said the government needed urgently to decide the future of Malaysia Airlines and warned options could include shutting down the national flag carrier.
Malaysia was privatized in 2014 after it suffered two fatal crashes in less than five months, the still unsolved loss of Flight MH370 and the downing of MH17 in a missile attack over Ukraine by Russian separatists.
A recovery plan included cutting about 6000 jobs and the transfer of the airline in 2015 to a new company, Malaysia Airlines Berhad. It was supposed to be profitable by 2019.
However, Khazanah reported a loss of more than 6 billion ringgit last year, 3 billion of which was attributed to the failure of Malaysia Airlines to return to profitability.
“It is a very serious matter to shut down an airline,’’ Mahathir said earlier this month.
“We will nevertheless be studying and investigating as to whether we should shut it down or we should sell it off or we should refinance it. All these things are open for the government to decide.”