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I am getting jittery. Next month I am going  to travel overseas on business with Malaysia Airlines (MAS). Despite the unresolved scare of the missing MH370, I still decide to fly MAS.

This morning I read a Reuter’s report about a mechanical problem on MAS flight MH192 Boeing 737-800, with 166 people on board, from Kuala Lumpur  to Bangalore . The news has also been quickly picked up by the New York Times here and the other online news portals all over the internet. Burst tyre? Faulty landing gear? This is definitely not good news to frequent travellers like me.

Incidentally, this is the same flight that had technical glitches forcing it to turn back to India , MAS flight MH 193 Boeing 737-800 from India enroute to KLIA on Sunday 15 April 2012! Return journey. ( in my blog on MAS “Near Misses”). 

MH 192 turned back and abandoned journey to Bangalore, safely landed, thanks to the heroic pilot! (21 April 2014) -Photo courtesy TODAY

MH 192 turned back and abandoned journey to Bangalore, safely landed, thanks to the heroic pilot! (21 April 2014) -Photo courtesy TODAY

The other recent incident involving MAS  flight MH066 to Incheon, South Korea that was forced to land in Hong Kong on March 23 2014,  is still nagging me. And that fire in MAS maintenance workshop, destroying documents shortly after MH370’s disappearance  is also most disturbing. It doesn’t look  at all good on the company.

Already the whole world is putting its microscope on MAS following that “unprecedented aviation disaster” that is MH370;  now these mechanical problems are coming in quick succession. What is going on?

What is going on in the engineering/maintenance section of MAS? Have all the good engineers and mechanics who have been with MAS for years left MAS for AirAsia?? I remember reading about Tony Fernandes saying AirAsia would stop sending its aircrafts for maintenance by MAS: does he know something that we don’t? Or MAS’s planes are getting older and hence have problem being maintained? What about possible cost-cutting measures affecting maintenance schedules? Or have the work culture in that section changed and technical staff are getting lackadaisical? Or on the sinister side, could it be a sabotage? What is going on?

There were other cases like this in the past but due to that monstrous mystery, things are just not the same. We the Malaysian public demand that MAS puts its act back together and concentrate on safety of its aircraft passengers. MAS needs to do this even at the expense of calling for external experts to investigate its maintenance section. I have read about unpleasant going ons in MAS maintenance section from blogger Wee Chee Kiong who seems to have inside information and able to give us the latest on incidents involving MAS.

Much as I want to help MAS by continuing flying with it, I am not going to risk my life knowing full well that the airline is having frequent mechanical issues with its aircrafts. If I feel this way, what about other air travellers who have no emotional connectivity with MAS at all? I bet more than 90% of these people are not going to fly with MAS anymore.

We the taxpayers are an important stakeholder of MAS, albeit faceless and mostly stricken with apathy, should wake up and demand the overhaul of MAS management. If the CEO of MAS has any dignity left, he  should resign over these frequent mishaps which one of these days will turn into another disaster. We don’t want another MH370.

Please PM Najib, step forward now  and be a leader for once and act on this national problem which can affect people’s lives and Malaysia’s good name.

Honestly, I don’t believe that the heroic efforts by the pilots could be sustained at 100% success rate if the mechanical failures keep recurring on their aircrafts. I have so far refrained from blogging about MAS Engineering/Maintenance section but I cannot take it anymore with this latest near miss.

In the meantime, I have emailed my assistant to change my MAS London flight booking in late May 2014 to another airline with a heavy heart.

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