Khazanah awaiting Malaysia Airlines recovery plan  

Shahril: Malaysia Airlines is working on a plan. We are waiting to see what that plan is and then we’ll provide input and see what assistance we can do (offer) to help them with the plan. But it will take some time to work out.

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"Quite clearly there’s time pressure, they need to figure it out as soon as possible. But we leave it in their hands. — Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzwan, Khazanah MD.

KUALA LUMPUR (July 7): Khazanah Nasional Bhd is waiting for wholly-owned Malaysia Airlines Bhd’s recovery plan before the sovereign wealth fund can provide input and help to the airline, whose business was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Khazanah managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzwan said the fund will leave it to Malaysia Airlines to formulate its plan.

“Malaysia Airlines is working on a plan. We are waiting to see what that plan is and then we’ll provide input and see what assistance we can do (offer) to help them with the plan. But it will take some time to work out,” Shahril told reporters on the sidelines of Invest Malaysia 2020 here today.

“Quite clearly there’s time pressure, they need to figure it out as soon as possible. But we leave it in their hands. They have to figure out the plan, then present it to shareholders,” Shahril said.

Touching on the state of the aviation industry and its positioning for a recovery, Shahril said the problem with the Covid-19 pandemic is that there is no clear idea about the way forward at this point in time. 

“It is unprecedented in terms of the crisis to the whole industry. Most people don’t have a clear idea on what the future is going to look like in terms of travel, demand, and honestly, a lot of people are just using assumptions or just guessing at this point of time,” he said.

“[Former Petronas president and group CEO] Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin has just joined Malaysia Airlines and we look forward to his leadership, and hopefully he will bring Malaysia Airlines to different heights in terms of being able to handle this crisis,” Shahril said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in global restricted movement policies and grounded flights to curb the spread of the pandemic.

On March 18, 2020, Malaysia Airlines group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said in a statement that the situation then had been rather fluid since the company had to make last-minute cancellations to abide by the restrictions.

"The uncoordinated approach has posed great challenges to our operations, but we are doing our best to re-route passengers via reallocation onto other carriers. This is an added cost to our operations. We are also adjusting our low-load flights by cancelling and merging them to manage costs while managing our customer expectations. To date we have cancelled more than 4,000 flights,” Izham said then.

Malaysia's MCO, which was initially scheduled between March 18 and 31, required non-essential businesses to stop operations, while the public was ordered to stay at home to curb the Covid-19 outbreak.

On March 25, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government decided to extend the MCO until April 14, because updates from the National Security Council and the Health Ministry indicated an increase in Covid-19 cases. 

On April 10, Muhyiddin said the government was extending the MCO until April 28.

On April 23, Muhyiddin said the MCO would be extended for another two weeks until May 12.

On May 4, news reports, quoting Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, indicated that regulations under phase four of the MCO were null and void with the commencement of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) or phase five of the MCO.

On May 10, Muhyiddin said the CMCO would be extended to June 9.

On June 7, Muhyiddin said the CMCO will be replaced with the recovery movement control order beginning June 10 until Aug 31.