Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, who joined the airlines in 1971 and later rose to helm the company for about 10 years, said workers were mostly demoralised by the allegedly weak leadership of its board members, but did not provide specifics.
“The board should be placed before the firing squad,” the former MAS chief executive told reporters here at a press conference held by Malay business lobby group Majlis Perundingan Melayu (MPM).
“If anyone should be blamed it should be the board members. They failed to regulate the carrier (properly),” he added.
Abdul Aziz also said Khazanah Nasional Berhad made the wrong decision by hiring German Christoph Mueller to head MAS’s restructuring exercise while keeping the same board members who were responsible for the carrier’s losses for the past 15 years.
“MAS has not been performing for about 15 years now and the company’s leadership then should have been held accountable. But instead we see them now retained as board members,” he said.
The outgoing Mueller caused an outrage recently when he justified the sacking of 6,000 MAS staff as part of the company’s restructuring exercise because they were caught “sleeping”.
Mueller was hired in March 2015 after Malaysia Air’s reputation and sales were hit by two fatal crashes the previous year.
MPM in its response called Mueller’s statement rude and urged MAS to sack the German immediately.
“No excuses. His statement insulted the Bumiputera community and we are calling for his immediate sacking,” the group said in a statement which was handed out to the press.
Abdul Aziz also criticised the mass retrenchment, saying it was unnecessary. He insisted that MAS could have been saved if there were careful planning and strong leadership.
“We see talents snapped up by other carriers. MAS also shouldn’t have cut routes. They made wrong decisions...no proper or strategic planning,” he said.
The former MAS CEO was also critical of company’s new hiring policy, noting that Mueller brought in 15 foreigners to head key posts.
Abdul Aziz said since MAS was a national carrier started with public funds, it should continue to serve the government’s Bumiputera economic enhancement policy by giving the positions to abled locals instead.
“If it was just three foreigners nevermind. This is 15. What happened to the locals? What happened to national policy?” he said.
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