KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has given his assurance that the government is not going to close down Malaysia Airlines.
Clarifying that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s statement on the issue had been misconstrued, Lim said that the government would not shut down the national carrier, and it was merely one of the options presented to the Prime Minister.
"Mahathir was only talking about the various options that were presented (to him) on Malaysia Airlines. He was not talking about closing down Malaysia Airlines," Lim told reporters on Wednesday (Mar 13).
Lim said that with the clarification, the airline’s employees were assured of their future.
The Prime Minister, on Tuesday, was quoted as saying that the government would study various options before deciding on the airline’s fate.
"I think it is a very serious matter to shut down the national airline. We will nevertheless study the situation whether to shut the airline down, or should we sell it off or refinance it. All these are open for the government to decide," Dr Mahathir had said.
Malaysia Airlines, which was privatised under Khazanah National, posted a marginally lower loss last year due to several factors, including crew shortages in the second half of 2018.
The sovereign fund, which took the national carrier private in 2014, had injected RM6 billion (US$1.5 billion) into the business in an effort to help the airline get back in the black after it was hit by the weakening ringgit and higher jet fuel prices, among other factors.