Updated @ 10:45 am 5-12-2011: MAS used to have daily return direct flights between Sandakan and Kuala Lumpur, then Firefly came in to serve this route, so MAS stopped doing it. This was decided by the new management of MAS under En Mohammed Rashdan Yusof, the ex-business partner of Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar when they were in BinaFikir Sdn Bhd.
The Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Edward Khoo has expressed disappointment at the decision to reduce the number of airlines operating direct flights between Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur.
“Lately Firefly has also withdrawn its service and we are now left with only AirAsia serving this route.I still remember that when MAS and AirAsia had a share swap, it was clearly announced that this swap would not create a monopoly for air travel.This particular route between Sandakan and Kuala Lumpur has now become a monopoly (by AirAsia),” said Datuk Edward Khoo. Full report in HERE.
Now that the meeting between Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and Tan Sri Bashir of MAHB was just a rumour where Tan Sri Bashir was supposed to be given the boot. Lets hope that the sacking of Tan Sri Bashir was a mere figment of imagination. Lets return to the problems in MAS where Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar’s ex-business partner in BinaFikir Sdn Bhd, En Mohammed Rashdan Yusfof aka Danny, was in the centre of many controversial decisions in MAS.
Below is the e-mail from a member of staff of MAS. Hopefully the leaders of MAS unions (MASEUS, MESA, MAPA & etc) will not only read it for fun but will also examine what had happened in MAS under the secret MAS – AirAsia share swap and the s0-called Comprehensive Collaborative Framework (CCF) and whether both of these exercises have so far benefitted MAS. Members of staff of MAS have spoken out loud against the said secret share swap and CCF in yours truly’s blog and other blogs. MASEUS and other unions in MAS have made a few statements and have threatened to picket in early December against the CCF. Read in HERE & HERE.
After a few statements from En Alias, the President of MASEUS, MASEUS went into silence mode. Yours truly have also heard that there were BIG talks of writing Open Letters to MPs and YAB PM some 2 months ago but sadly to say NO positive actions from the union leaders up to now. This had caused resentments and many MAS staff have posted adverse comments against their own leaders. This was unavoidable as MAS employees are seeing the unhealthy developments before their eyes daily and they have the legitimate expectations of wanting their leaders to lead and take the necessary actions to stop the rots.
The Unions leaders must not only stand up for their members but must be seen to be fighting for their members’ interests and most of all the interests of MAS. Without MAS, there will be no subscriptions for the unions to collect!
It is now the time for MAS staff to ask their respective union leaders on the union stands on the developments in MAS and whether they were beneficial to MAS, and what the unions leaders intend to do about what had happened so far. Four months have elapsed after the said secret share swap have been signed, the Unions leaders have had enough meetings with Rashdan, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and AJ but the MAS unions members have the legitimate rights to know the substance of the said meetings.
Yours truly believes that the MAS unions leaders were aware of the glaring facts below. If the MAS unions leaders are not too busy with drafting their Open Letters, perhaps they should let the MAS employees have their opinions about the developments listed below:
The cancellations of full load Firefly flights during Raya season that have caused great inconveniences to about 7,000 rakyat;
The sudden termination of Firefly profitable routes from JB to Kuching and KK from 25-8-2011;
The sudden termination of MAS profitable route to Bandung from 4-10-2011;
The sudden termination of Firefly routes from KLIA to KK and Miri from 4-12-2011;
The impending termination of more MAS/Firefly routes especially from KK to Japan, Seoul, Perth where AirAsia X Sdn Bhd is operating, all in the name of cutting costs;
Restricting Firefly to operate turboprop service;
The costs of respraying Firefly aircraft to MAS colour and moving offices from Subang to KLIA;
Spending RM18 million to sponsor QPR, which Tan Sri Tony Fernandes is the co-owner, home jersey at a time when MAS is bleedings! (Was this an obvious case of conflict of interests?); and
The sudden suspension En Sahari Sulaiman, the capable MD of MasKargo after the said secret share swap when MasKargo has a good record of making profits of about RM140 million annually. (Was this an exercise of witch hunting or forcing good manager to leave for certain hidden agenda?) Read HERE, and;
The resignations of high ranking members of staff namely, Datuk Eddy Leong, the MD of Firefly and a few others.
Below is the e-mail:
I am compelled to write to you about the recent happenings and rumors in MAS. There has been endless talk about the direction of MAS amongst the staff and we are being kept in the dark about the so-called turn around plan. It has been over 3 months since the new management took over but to-date there is nothing forth coming from the management.
To be frank with you, the whole MAS fraternity is against the collaboration with AA. I was told that the unions/associations in MAS has made it known officially about it and there are also rumblings amongst the senior management on the matter. Furthermore, there are more and more unfamiliar faces in MAS compounds not forgetting the few consultants hired by MAS to look into the operations of the airline, causing much anxiety and unhappiness amongst the staff.
I have also heard from the grapevine that MAS management is looking at ways of turning us from “red” to “black”. They felt that “unit cost” needs to be trimmed and various strategies were put in place. Some of the decisions made are:
1. Closing down of unprofitable routes.
The management felt that some routes are unprofitable and the decision was made to close down South Africa, Argentina, United States and all Middle East except Jeddah. These stations will be gradually closed from December 2011 with the final closure in February 2012. They even made an official announcement about it. But the problem is that being a National Airline; MAS must first consult the Government about it, to which they have failed. I have inside information that the management was called-up by PutraJaya as they were upset by the decision and asked MAS to reinstate back the stations until further notice.
2. The management also decided to “wet lease“ some of MAS jet regional routes to Fire Fly using their aircrafts. They claimed the “unit cost” for running such an operations was lower compared to MAS operating them. But the irony of it, these Fire Fly aircrafts are on lease and will be flown by Fire Fly pilots and cabin crew. What has happened is that MAS has decided to lower the flying hours of their own pilots and cabin crew leaving them on ground without much flying. Common sense will tell you, how is it that these “wet lease” operations will reduce the “unit cost” when we have our very own pilots and cabin crew who can fly the Fire Fly aircraft!!
But the icing of the cake is when it was found out that the Fire Fly aircraft does not have the license to fly Dangerous Goods (DG), whilst MAS being a National Carrier has the proper licenses for that. The Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCAM) has decided that if ever DG needs to be carried, there will be an aircraft swap from Fire Fly to MAS. Again, how will this so called decision reduce the “unit cost” when there is so much hassle and inconvenience to MAS operations?
On the other hand, the management has also made some bizarre decisions, which is indeed mind boggling to the staff. Whilst they claim that MAS needs to reduce “unit cost”, they have been on a spending spree, amongst them:
1. Sponsor of QPR
This decision was made when the exco was running MAS. Bear in mind that Tony and Kamaruddin was in the exco at that time and it is unethical for them to be part of the decision making process. It is must also be noted that whenever there are any proposals, there must be proper processes that any company must do to ensure transparency and accountability. Even the senior management of MAS is questioning the decision, as it does not follow the “Board Audit Tender” processes. I have also heard that even AJ is unhappy about the deal but he is powerless as it was done before his time.
2. Moving out from Subang (SZB) to KLIA
The management made a decision recently that our offices in SZB will be closed and staff will be moved to KLIA offices. It will involve all Departments except Engineering and Call Centre. The movement will take place from April 2012 and will end in June 2012. They claim that since the pulse of MAS operations is in KLIA, it will be better for all the offices to be situated there.
The question that every staff is asking, why make to move when we have other more important issues at hand that needs to be prioritized? Furthermore, the move involves cost and this is one area that the management needs to tackle. On one hand, the management talks about reducing “unit cost” but on the other hand, they are spending money. The staff has voiced our displeasure about the decision as we felt it should be done when the financial situation is more stabled, but it has turned to deaf ears.
3. Going premium
The management has decided that MAS will be turned into a premium airline. They have also decided to change the cabin configuration of the newly delivered Airbus A330 and Boeing B737-800. And decisions have also been made to change to cabin for the coming Airbus A380. MAS will also be changing the cutlery in the aircraft to reflect the new premium outlook.
The staff has been asking the management what is this premium they are talking about? The management claims that the growth in the industry is the Asian Region and that is their focus whilst the long haul is a loss-making venture. Yes, that might be true but how premium can we be? Can we offer fine dining or even multi channel entertainment system on our aircraft when the flying time amongst the region is less than 5 hours?
Foremost in our minds are connectivity and how can an airline be “premium” when we are closing down stations. How are we to serve the customers when others around us are flying the world whilst we are merely making up the numbers!! The question is, will all the money spent upgrading our cabin ensure that MAS make money??
Furthermore, airlines around us are also on par with their brand of premium but the one factor that will tip the scale is connectivity and that is where MAS will loose out. Bear in mind, MAS is the only airline from this region that flies to Argentina and we are planning to close down the station.
The other worrying trend in MAS is the resignations of senior management in MAS. Our CFO, En Azhar and CEO of Fire Fly, Dato’ Eddie Leong has left us. And more recently, our EVP of Communication, Raja Zamilia has tendered her resignation. MAS have also suspended one of our senior management pending an inquiry. Isn’t it ironic that our senior managements are leaving MAS when they were announced in the new management team by AJ? Two things come to our minds, it is either they were forced out as they do not fit into the new management team OR they have lost confidence in MAS, thus prompting them to leave. Rumors are a few more mid-level management have also tendered their resignations in the coming weeks. This news does not bode well with MAS as it shows that we are indeed in trouble and our managements are slowly abandoning ship.
AJ announced recently that both he and Rashdan are “Joint in-Command” in MAS. One must understand that in any one ship, there is only one Supreme Commander and he/she will have the final say. The problem is there is this perception amongst MAS staff that AJ is not the one calling the shots, it is Rashdan and Tony that is doing so. Even the senior management has admitted silently about it and they are very uncomfortable about the running of MAS by both of them. Probably that explains the reason why some of MAS senior management has left. Rumors running around at the top-level management are, there is no cohesiveness amongst them. They are also not kept in the loop nor consulted in any decision-making. AJ will be making a decision only to be overturned by Rashdan or even Tony later. Their indecisiveness is costing us a lot and that probably explains why until today, there is no official announcement on the turnaround plans.
Being a loyal employee of MAS, I am compelled to write to you informing you the inner happenings in MAS. I have been here since the days of Tan Sri Aziz (our first Chairman) and I have seen Chairman’s and MD’s come and go. But this is indeed the most worrying trend in my career as MAS is headless and directionless in this turmoil. I know that the Company will come out in the open denying everything but believe me, the staff of MAS will agree to what I had said. Even some of the senior management of MAS has confided that they share the same feeling but they have to be silent about it as they are powerless to do anything.
It also no secret that Emirates have just announced that they will be flying to KL using the A380 and they are aggressively marketing it in the local media. That is one airline that not only offers “premium” but also connectivity around the world. If the matter is left unchecked, I fear that MAS will fall further in the industry.
Another interesting article in HERE.