Our national airline, MAS (MAB now), used to be the pride of the nation.
It was without doubt one of the top airlines, with services comparable to the best in the industry, and with seats and comfort level second to none. It was up there together with industry leaders like SIA and CathayPacific. It was in my opinion way ahead of US and European airlines. But not anymore.
Like everything else in our country, it has gone down the hill. Excellence has been lost, like in some many other fields; in sports, in education, in morality.
It no longer serviced US route, and has cut back on Australian and European routes in a rationalization exercise.
For the past five or six years, I had to take either EVA air or Cathay Pacific in my annual travel to the States ( sometimes twice yearly) if I wanted to go with the most direct routes.
It no longer flies to Brisbane, where two of my children are working. So to go there, I have to make a stop somewhere. It is an added inconvenience, but I still stick to MAS, even if it means stopping in Darwin or Singapore to catch the connecting flights with partner airlines like Qantas.
Service wise, with the cut back in staff, it has gone down too.
I have high hope when Christoph Mueller was sourced to become its CEO, for this person has a reputation as an airline turn-around guru.
Now, a little more than a year later, he is resigning. The reason given is ‘changing personal circumstances’, which is usually an euphemism for ‘I can’t tolerate anymore’. What are the things that he can’t tolerate? Our sweltering heat? Our spicy food? Our stop-go traffic? These things have been there before he came, and so are unlikely the things that he can’t tolerate. More likely it is the human aspect that he can’t tolerate.
Did he have a total free hand to run things? Is there any interference or rather, any resistance to his rationalization plan?
What is his actual reason for quitting? Is it, like what is being speculated by no less an insider body of Nufam (National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia), due to heavy politics in the airline?
If so, heavy politics can only mean one thing– pressure to unplug the plugs that he put in place to stop the leakages that were plaguing the airline.
In my humble opinion, in drastically trying to stop the leakages, he may have stepped on some toes of some very influential politicians. And in Malaysia, that would be the end of the road.
What is next? Who is to take over? Will the leakages come back again as suggested by Nufam?
As Malaysians , we are entitled to be given a true picture of what is happening to one of the most important symbols and corporations of our country.