KUCHING: Negotiations on taking over MASwings are still ongoing but moving slowly and cautiously after Malaysia Airlines was taken over by a new management.
This was revealed by Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday, who said stakeholders from Sabah and Sarawak were anticipating another meeting with Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) sometime in the next two months.
“The plan can only materialise when there are no objections from the federal government for Sabah and Sarawak to take over the operations of MASwings,” he told a press conference after opening the 2nd International Conference on Contemporary Issues in Accounting and Finance (CoCIAF) 2015 at Hilton Hotel here.
“I’ve had meetings with Khazanah CEO and MAB Board of Management two months ago,” he revealed.
He said the state’s proposal, which the Sabah government had agreed to, was to make MASwings a regional airline to serve routes with fight duration within seven hours to destinations like Bali, Jakarta, Bangkok, Tokyo and Australia.
“MAB can continue to be the premium airline much like Cathay Pacific which is complemented by its regional airline Dragon Air and similar to Singapore Airline (SIA) and Silk Air,” he pointed out.
However, the MAB board of management had been hesitant and silent upon hearing the proposition because it had intention of making MASwings its regional airline too.
“With the new management, I think they are still thinking about the possibility,” he added.
However, Abang Johari remained optimistic that the plan could materialise due to strong economic justifications, especially the huge tourism potential in Sabah and Sarawak.