Najib acknowledged that the national carrier needed a complete overhaul and supported the move by the state investor to buy up all shares in Malaysia Airlines before moving to delist it from the local stock market.
He said only through a complete overhaul could the national carrier be genuinely strong and sustainable. "Putrajaya believes Malaysia Airlines needs to be renewed, and this means wholesale changes to deliver a wholly different outcome," Najib said in a statement.
MAS said in a statement earlier today, after announcing the suspension of its shares, that Khazanah, which owns 69.37% of MAS, will undertake a comprehensive review and restructuring of the airline, which has suffered two disasters this year.
"We have received notice of Khazanah’s intentions to take full ownership and delist Malaysia Airlines. Our board of directors will be deliberating this proposal and an official response from the company will be issued later. During this period, our business operations remains unchanged," MAS added in the statement.
Khazanah said its proposed "complete overhaul" of MAS would take six to 12 months after approval from shareholders, Reuters reported.
"The privatisation is the first step needed to return Malaysia Airlines to profitability, It is a step I wholeheartedly support," Najib said.
"Malaysia Airlines is part of the country's history as it is a symbol of national pride, ambition and Malaysia's place in the world.
"As it is more than a company to us, we are now making the changes to ensure that it is also part of our future history."
Najib said the twin tragedies of MH370 and MH17 which struck MAS, had deeply saddened the nation.
"Seldom has a company been subjected to two profound and extraordinary tragedies in such a short space of time.
“We hope these twin tragedies will change the way the aviation industry operates, making global travel safer for all.
"However, we must also acknowledge that they will change the way Malaysia Airlines operates as well."
Najib said he had told all concerned that the process should be carried out professionally, with proper principles of fairness, transparency and compassion.
"Without the full support of all parties – management, employees, unions, creditors and vendors – as well as loyal passengers and the Malaysian people – this restructuring will not succeed."
Najib revealed that Putrajaya and Khazanah were in the final stages of completing a comprehensive and holistic restructuring plan.
"With due process and following the relevant approvals, we expect that a detailed plan will be announced before the end of August."
Reuters reported that Khazanah will offer 27 sen for each MAS share it does not own, amounting to nearly RM1.4 billion to take the troubled airline private.
Khazanah said the offer to take MAS private is the first stage of the restructuring scheme, and its full proposal will be announced by the end of the month.
It also said cooperation from all parties is needed to undertake the restructuring, covering the airline's operations, business model, finances, staff and the regulatory environment.
"Nothing less will be required in order to revive our national airline to be profitable as a commercial entity, and to service its function as a critical national development entity," it said. – August 8, 2014.
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