Rumours have been gong around since early July that MAS is going to be restructured. [Read The Star here].
Stockbrokers have been quietly recommending a BUY on MAS to take advantage of the plunge in shares arising from the alleged shooting of MAS MH 17. The price is too low vis-a-vis it's asset value and MAS has a better asset backing than lean mean Air Asia.
The rumour that it will go private has reached the ears of Wall Street Journal. Supposedly another turnaround plan will be proposed after Raya. Yes, everything will be after Raya.
Most likely, Khazanah Nasional will offer a General Offer and take charge privately like it did to hide the true financial status of UEM. With the same hands that wrecked it in the first place at the helm of Khazanah, serious doubt they can pull off another "turnaround".
That is unless Tun Dr Mahathir is willing to be there as Adviser to guide the National Pride and most valued brand name to Malaysia back to past glory. [Read back our posting Dollars and Sense of Flagbearer]
There will be a lot of hardwork needed and the management, particularly middle management need to be kicked in the right spot out or remain in.
The staff will need to be remotivated or revived their morale from a recent witch hunting done from a certain RM150,000 per month salary Head of Human Resource. The former Human Resource Manager of Danone biscuit factory think work stress is the problem and the solution is a chicken dance. [Read Woo Chee Keong here]
All one need to do is to think of MAS from the perspective of national interest and the path forward can be clearly seen. It would be foolish on government to retrench 20,000 staff. Country lose face and the political implication is multiple of the staff number.
MAS has three major components; Cargo, and Passenger Operation - International, and Domestic.
Cargo is profitable and must continue to be profitable. The role that MAS played to bring tourist, businessman and people to this country has lead to increase trade between Malaysia and other countries. That has translated to benefit MAS through MasKargo.
The problem with MAS lies in the passengers carrying operations which covers international and domestic.
Someone was saying MCA wanted an airline for Chinese and Firefly was established, thus for the controversial Mandarin proficiency requirement for flight attendants. It was not necessary but since we have it, might as well expand Firefly to takeover the domestic route and give Air Asia (AK) a run for their money regionally. It must be profitably driven.
Change that name, it is cool but does not add value and stature. Call it Malaysian Airline or plain Malaysia.
MAS will focus on international and carry the name of Malaysia more than MAS. It must revert to its previous role as National Carrier and flag bearer.
AK cannot be considered as National Carrier for the same reason Garuda is not an Indonesian Carrier or flag bearer. For one, it has no Malaysia on its name, thus does not give brand value to Malaysia but to Asia. AK is listed in other countries in the region and is also associated with other country brand.
As an only for profit organisation, it has refused national and social obligations. The fine example is AK ending the Rural Air Service (RAS) because it is not sufficiently profitable.
MAS could be made part of government tourism, trade or transportation role. For instance, why do one need TDC offices all over the world? That can be combined under one roof with MAS.
In fact, MAS office and presence at Airports all around the world are a better and more cost affective advertising to country than a big TDC downtown office or large expensive billboard.
|From people to people to trade|
If it is a money drainer, then keep it to few flights a week but presence all over the world we must.
Iran which faced economic sanction see the need to have a national carrier to enable Iranian and foreigners to come to and go out of Iran.
Air Asia could stop their routes when profit is not there any more. But, Malaysia must remain connected to the world. Israel is willing to pay for extra for security for El Al to fly all over the world despite many years of boycott to remain connected and have their presence.
Can MAS afford to do so? With some creative thinking, MAS and Malaysian government can do it.
|Sold by Butcher from Shell|
They say MAS is bleeding by the day but government has a sizeable tourism promotional budget badly utilised. Lets not waste that fund as political fund to create wasteful unnecessary event to please Ministers' cronies.
Why not re-channel that budget for MAS to play the role of tourism promotion?
If it is going private, MAS does not have to answer and report to Bursa every quarter. It can go on a long term thought through turnaround plan. No need to give a damn of opposition politicians. They are shallow in their thinking of nation building.
MAS could be used as conduit to invest in tourism. As a corporation, they would be more effective and synergistic to be involved in tourism than Tourism Ministry's PAMPENA. MAS has the customer service culture that could help.
If MAS involvement in tourism expanded, most of tourist agencies cannot squeezed MAS any more cause or MAS will compete at their doorstep.
If only MAS management had some thoughts to buy the company providing ticketing system, Abacus which they used to subscribe to, that would have put their hands direct on a valuable database of air travellers around the world. It would have been convenient to pull air travelers to Malaysia
The important thing to do is to bring back the old sense of family and pride back to the staff. Managers of MAS must stop behaving like school headmaster going around with a cane to find fault and scold.
Everyone in MAS must be appreciated because they are serving the nation. They need to be more a listeners than the old school egoistic tendency to demotivate and muscle flexing.
No chicken dance can solve that attitude.
Most important in getting this plan is to have someone who feels strongly about national pride and bringing dignity to Malaysia. It has to be someone so synonymous with nation building
His presence is not to sleep and enjoy the lavish salary and office paid by MAS for his retirement but to motivate, inspire and bring back a sense of pride for serving the nation into the psyche of management - top, middle and lower, staff and down to menial workers.
His presence will attract the trust and harness the right brains to help strategically draw up a proper turnaround plan and not the one level thinking turnaround plans that have been brought in.
He has committed himself for Proton to bring in RM1 billion of R&D funding, thus he can do a national pride revival for MAS too.
After all, Tun Dr Mahathir does not need to bother of Petronas anymore. It is an MNC taking it's own path. His heart is no more there with the attitude of Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar.
The way we see it is him and only him that can inspire MAS back to its former great when it roam the world in 100 countries.
With the way the Wall Street worshipping people in Khazanah thinks, there is no way MAS will ever turnaround. The last so-called collaboration with Air Asia had sinister intention. Malaysia Airport under Khazanah could have raised the profile for MAS and Malaysia but they fail to do so.
Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar has openly said Khazanah will not invest anymore in MAS. So it means he cannot appreciate the need to reinvest to upgrade fleet to stay competitive. Thus he could be thinking of cashing out - liquidating or a selling the parts of MAS.
Dato Nazir Abdul Razak must be thinking of saving CIMB's loan he approved to Air Asia and that was the reason for the manouvre for Air Asia to "takeover" MAS. He must be either thinking of chopping up MAS for Tony F to get his hands in MAS Kargo or commission taking sales to a foreign airline.
The reason MAS could not turnaround was also because the member of the Baord of Directors of MAS and Khazanah has no creativity to do turnaround and create opportunity for MAS. They are too predictably text book and their ideas does not bring about awe.
Among them are the very same people that plundered and failed in carrying out their task for MAS. They are never concerned with MAS. They do not know it's history and thought MAS started as Malaysian Airlines System.
As for sleepy, why was he as Adviser not seen visiting the aggrieved families of the crew victims of MH 370 and MH 17?
Only Tun Dr Mahathiir showed concern and took the effort.
* Edited 25/7 1:30 PM