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This morning I was annoyed reading about a male Exco member of a political group urging MAS (Malaysia Airlines) female flight attendants to compulsorily don the hijab (head covering ); for Muslim staff only presumably. Later the head of that group came out to say that female staffs should be given the choice to do so or not: a fairer statement.

The days of the beautifully coiffed hair of MAS female flight attendants are numbered .Prepare to hold your breath if they come to serve you at 4.30 am London time on that long haul flight.

The days of the beautifully coiffed hair of MAS female flight attendants are numbered. Prepare to hold your breath when they come around  to serve you  breakfast at 4.30 am London time on that long haul 12-hr flight. (net image)

I am not against this head covering stuff. What I cannot understand is why a blinking political group should dictate what the staff of a company should wear. For the man to do so in the mainstream media shows how arrogant he is. By the way, he is from a Youth Wing of a political party which is a dominant component of the ruling Coalition. It looks like he also wants to appear more religious than members of the Opposition which has in its fold an Islamist party.

Yet he is silent on the wearing of hijab for female flight attendants of Air Asia, Air Asia X and Malindo Air. I am tempted to  interpret this as his attempt to drive off international travellers from MAS so that they would go for Airasia X which doesn’t impose such practices. These days money really talks.

I have not come across this man’s name before but would hazard to guess that he must have been the product of over twenty-years of religion-friendly school system in this country. This system breeds an education milieu which is didactic and controlling in nature. It is also gradually becoming less tolerant of other faiths and other cultural practices.

I suppose that is why MAS has not been doing well all these years as there is much political and other interference in its operations on account of it being a government-linked company (GLC). It doesn’t have a life of its own as it is subject to government’s decisions and directives. Its precipitous downfall started when Air Asia was purchased by Tony Fernandes who was allowed to have his ways through the lifting of flight restrictions earlier put in place to protect MAS.

It is also common knowledge that some influential and  politically connected people and people who are linked to the hereditary heads abuse MAS by asking for upgrades to first class when their tickets are actually bought for business class.

The same group also urges MAS not to serve alcohol on board the aircraft. What are they thinking?  This is an international airline for God’s sake. Moreover the drinks are served to those who request for them and are usually accompanied by meals. It is not as if there is a drinking session going on in the cabin. Again this is yet another attempt to impose one’s values on others. They just cannot stand others indulging be it decorously as they are not able to do so due to their religious teaching.Their philosophy is “If I can’t have it, so can’t you”.

You can restructure, re-brand, re-invent, revamp or re-organise MAS, but if it is still being operated like a government agency, it can never  rebound, turnaround, rejuvenate and survive without taxpayers’ money in the present global air-travel industry.

MAS will be delisted soon from the Malaysian Stock Exchange (Bursa Malaysia) for the so-called restructuring exercise; it is interesting to see what major transformational strategy being implemented apart from the selling off its cargo and engineering departments and a proposed retrenchment of an estimated 5000 staff.

Why can’t they just privatise it and run like the Singapore Airlines with no interference from the government  or anyone else who feel that they are important and yet contribute nothing to MAS’s well being?

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