#Highlight* Khazanah okays MAS plan, awaits Cabinet approval

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(August 27): State asset manager Khazanah Nasional Bhd has approved the comprehensive restructuring plan for the loss-making Malaysia Airlines that will see up to 6,000 jobs disappear, say sources.

The plan will be discussed by the Cabinet today, a day after the Khazanah board had a meeting chaired by the sovereign wealth fund's chairman Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"The plan has been approved, now its up to the Cabinet," a source said.

The centrepiece of the plan will include shaving off thousands of jobs, as well as putting in place opportunities for re-training and placing out staff members, and drawing up retrenchment packages in the loss-making flag carrier.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Khazanah officials hope that the restructuring will be transparent, humane and compassionate but ultimately, they hope that the Cabinet understand that the future of the national icon can only be secured if tough and necessary steps are taken.

Ultimately, this could mean the loss of several thousand jobs, perhaps even up to 30% of the workforce.

The Malaysia Airlines board is to meet tomorrow to decide on the restructuring plan and also issue its latest quarterly results in a year which saw the national carrier lose two Boeing 777s to a mysterious disappearance and a crash.

But even before the disasters this year, Malaysia Airlines had been flying in a sea of red ink with losses of RM4.13 billion from 2011 to 2013.

Analysts say the flag carrier which has endured four consecutive quarters of losses is on track to make that five in a row when results come out this week.

Mohshin Aziz, an analyst at Maybank Investment Bank, told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday: “It’s going to be a very, very nasty quarter.” He put MAS’s latest quarterly loss at as high as RM600 million.

That “is basically the highest loss ever in Malaysia Airlines history.”