Govt not closing down Malaysia Airlines — Guan Eng

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 13): Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has given his assurance that the Government is not going to close down Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB).

Clarifying that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement on the issue had been misconstrued, Lim asserted that the Government would not shut down the national carrier, instead it was merely one of the options presented to the Prime Minister.

"Mahathir was only talking about the various options that were presented (to him) on Malaysia Airlines. He was not talking about closing down Malaysia Airlines," Lim told reporters after launching Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd's Sustainable Development Financing Fund, here today.

Lim said with the clarification, the airline’s employees were assured of their future.

The Prime Minister, on Tuesday, was quoted as saying that the Government would study various options before deciding on MAB’s fate.

"I think it is a very serious matter to shut down the national airline. We will nevertheless study the situation whether to shut the airline down, or should we sell it off or refinance it. All these are open for the Government to decide," Dr Mahathir said.

MAB, which was privatised under Khazanah National Bhd, posted a marginally lower loss last year due to several factors, including crew shortages in the second half of 2018.

The national sovereign fund, which took MAB private in 2014, had injected RM6 billion into the business in an effort to help the airline return to the black after it was hit by the weakening ringgit and higher jet fuel prices, among other factors.