The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) president Ismail Nasaruddin says among the most glaring mistake was the termination of 6,000 Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAS) staff members four years ago and the shrinking of its route networks, while expecting a bigger revenue. - NSTP/ROSELA ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) said it is not surprised at Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s (MAS) impairments registered in its business operations last year.

Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said the problems plaguing the national carrier had been apparent for some time, and they had been pointed out many times by the union.

He said many of its proposals fell on deaf ears.

“Nufam has submitted proposals to the old and new government. These proposals were backed up by numbers, which caused MAS to bleed through the years.”

Ismail said among the most glaring mistake was the termination of 6,000 staff members four years ago and the shrinking of its route networks, while expecting a bigger revenue.

“They promised that the airline will be better with the reduction of 6,000 staff. It was used as an excuse as it was said that MAS was bloated.

“Now that we know that MAS accounted for half of Khazanah’s RM7.3 billion impairments last year, we are not surprised.

“We are not shocked because we relayed our concerns about MAS’ problems in the past and many of them have been proven correct.

The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) president Ismail Nasaruddin says the problems plaguing the national carrier had been apparent for some time, and they had been pointed out many times by the union. - NSTP/NURUL SHAFINA JEMENON

“The airline cannot be sustained with a restructuring plan. Just look at the number of CEOs who have left the carrier. Come on, let’s be realistic.”

He said besides changing its board of directors and management posts, it needed to listen to what was happening on the ground.

“It needs to clear its top-heavy management and staff structure. It needs to listen to its staff and experts. It needs to put the right people in the right positions. MAS became bullish to the extent that it had too much on its plate.

“They should have listened first before embarking on the last restructuring. Then maybe they could have saved the 6,000 staff who were terminated. It should have been done in a staggered manner in four- or six-month intervals and after engagement with staff.”

Ismail said MAS needed to compete with other Malaysian carriers, which were doing much better.

Shukor Yusof, the founder of aviation consultancy firm Endau Analytics, echoed this view by saying that Khazanah was not being accurate when it defended MAS’ multiplier effect in bringing in revenue in the tourism sector.

“Khazanah is wrong to say MAS has the multipier effect of helping bring eight to 10 times more to our economy.

“They must prove this. Data from Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd proves otherwise.”