KUALA LUMPUR: Former AirAsia chairman Pahamin Ab Rajab promised there will be no job cuts and no name change for Malaysia Airlines (MAS), if a turnaround plan put forth by him and his partners is accepted by Putrajaya.
“We have assured the prime minister that we will not sack anybody at Malaysia Airlines. We will also not ask for financial support from (sovereign wealth fund) Khazanah or the government,” Mr Pahamin was quoted as saying when contacted by the Star on Thursday (Jul 4).
“The airline will have the same national branding and will not change name. It will remain as Malaysia Airlines and it will be an international airline," he added.
However, he said the consortium will ask for rights to manage the loss-making carrier without interference from the government.
Talk of a takeover has been gathering steam, with the group led by Mr Pahamin meeting with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad earlier this week.
The group will reportedly offer to take over MAS through its vehicle, Najah Air Sdn Bhd, which is currently in the process of being registered.
Najah Air is said to have proof of funding and will need to conduct a three-month due diligence before unveiling its full turnaround plan for the airline.
“We are looking at taking a 49 per cent stake in the airline and Khazanah Nasional Bhd 51 per cent,” Mr Pahamin said, according to the Star.
He was appointed as non-executive chairman of low-cost carrier AirAsia in 2001, before retiring in 2008.
The fate of MAS has been up in the air. In March, Dr Mahathir said the government was considering whether to shut, sell or refinance the carrier.
Last month, MAS chief executive officer Izham Ismail said it would be a “wrong move” to shut down the national carrier. He noted that the move would affect many companies and stakeholders providing services to the airline.
Last week, Dr Mahathir said the government would like to sell MAS, but its identity as the national carrier must be retained.
Beside Mr Pahamin and his associates, several potential candidates are also said to be in the running to steer MAS back to profitability.