I came to know about the impending reversal a couple of weeks back and later on 28 April 2012, read about the “rumor” here. I could not believe Najib would take this decisive action after the long deafening silence despite constant “appeals” from MAS staff Union, concerned politicians , public and bloggers.
One of my fellow bloggers even stated boldly that the reversal announcement would be made by Wednesday May 2 2012. I commented that I would not believe it till the official announcement was made. And true enough when the shares of both airlines were suspended last Wednesday morning, what we have been waiting for came through. I would say it’s the triumph of MAS staff Union and its relentless effort to convince the PM that “a ship with an unhappy crew” would not navigate rough seas well despite having a clever captain.
The rest of us are more concerned about the use of tax-payers’ money to bail out a private concern. Tony Fernandes can say what he likes but he cannot convince us that the share swap deal would help to turnaround MAS. His seemingly wanton act of making MAS pay RM18 mil (yes, tax-payers’ money) to sponsor the jerseys of his English football club QPR following the deal, left a bitter taste in our mouth. (By the way, adding insult to injury, QPR was resoundingly defeated by Chelsea 6-1 in their last weekend’s match!)
Then he talked about rebranding MAS and I am sure before long he was going to make MAS work out those despicable hidden charges… his shady way of making money, taking advantage of helpless air travellers! Read a discussion and comments here.
Have JVs with Air-Asia by all means but Tony Fernandes should not be allowed to treat MAS like his own company. Through the sheer force of his personality, so many changes were made in MAS during his short-lived tenure as a board member so much so that all those MAS so-called top management looked so helplessly stupid. No wonder the rank and file were up in arms! We were also worried that Fernandes would end up as MAS CEO one day! Many people squirm at his elusive business style and ethics which could tarnish the image of our national airline internationally.
Fernandes, now no longer on MAS board said, after the reversal, that there were many things that he had intended to do to turn around MAS and he was sad that his tasks remain unfinished so it is now clear that he was the one calling the shots! God forbids, he is the owner of Air-Asia which is competing with MAS for the same passengers and routes and here he was re-arranging things around to save MAS? What kind of logic is that. Thank goodness PM Najib, despite all sorts of accusations thrown at him, could finally see the convoluted design and dares to unravel it.
Shame on you Khazanah boys who thought with their feet, taking the path of least resistance to solve MAS’s woes by sleeping with the enemy. They are too (airline) industry-blur to undertake specific measures to rein in the financial bleeding.
Now MAS top management have to be creative in their mission to make the airline once again a profitable concern. Surely they can do this with more efforts and connectivity. Come on man, rise to the occasion. The current airline industry is all about staying competitive. And MAS staff, you need to work harder ( strive for bonuses rather than frequent big hikes in salary) so that Fernandes would not be the last one laughing with glee.
[For the record I wish to share some thoughts/articles on MAS’s current predicament/status here ]
On a lighter note, a friend shared with me this posting below reflecting Tony Fernandes ‘s famous non-transparent profit making- business model.
For those of us who have been on Air Asia and have traveled quite a bit, the following “send-up” should strike a chord.
“Spare a thought for Uncle Tony F, Chief Executive Officer of Air Asia….”
Arriving at a hotel in KL Sentral, he went to the bar and asked for a pint of draught Guinness. The barman nodded and said, “that will be one ringgit please, Uncle Tony.”
Somewhat taken aback, Uncle Tony replied, “That’s very cheap,” and handed over his money.
“Well, we try to stay ahead of the competition”, said the barman. “And we are serving free pints every Wednesday evening from 6 until 8 pm. We have the cheapest draught in Asia”.
“That is remarkable value” Uncle Tony commented.
“I see you don’t seem to have a glass, so you’ll probably need one of ours. That will be 3 Ringgit please.
Uncle Tony scowled but paid up. He took his drink and walked towards a seat.
“Ah,you want to sit down? said the barman. “That’ll be an extra 2 Ringgit. You could have pre-booked the seat, and it would have cost you only one Ringgit”.
“I think you might be too big for the seat Sir, can I ask you to sit in this frame please”.
Uncle Tony attempted to sit down but the frame was too small and when he couldn’t squeeze in, he complained “Nobody would fit in that little frame!”.
“I’m afraid if you can’t fit in the frame you’ll have to pay a surcharge of RM4 for your seat Sir”.
Tony swore to himself but paid up. “I see that you have brought your laptop with you” added the barman. “And since that wasn’t pre-booked either, that will be another 3 Ringgit”.
Uncle Tony was so annoyed that he walked back to the bar, slammed his drink on the counter,” and yelled, “This is ridiculous, I want to speak to the Manager”.
“Ah I see you want to use the counter,” said the barman, “that will be 2 Ringgit please”. Uncle’s face was red with rage.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Of course I do Mr Fernandes”.
“I’ve had enough. What sort of hotel is this? I come here for a quiet drink and you treat me like this. I insist on speaking to the Manager!”.
“Here is his e-mail address, or if you wish , you can contact him between 9 and 9.10 am every morning, Monday to Tuesday at this free phone number. Calls are free, until they are answered, then there is a talking charge of only 10 sen per second provided you use Tune Talk , using other mobile carriers would incur our normal charges of 30 sen per second”.
“I will never come to this bar again” , Mr Fernandes shouted.
“Ok Uncle, but remember, we are the only bar in Asia selling pints for one Ringgit …. so that everyone can drink”.