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Jauhari’s board post mars MAS’ ‘turnaround’

MP SPEAKS It is indeed shocking that Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was literally shown the door for underperforming as the CEO of MAS and was immediately rehired as a member of the board of directors of the newly-incorporated Malaysia Airlines Berhad.

There is no rhyme and reason for the use of this revolving door. If indeed MAS is to make a clean break and chart a new course, it must cut links from its past.

According to the Malaysia Airlines website, Ahmad Jauhari was appointed as a member of the board in May 2015, immediately after his tenure as chief executive officer ended in April 2015. If his performance as the CEO of MAS is any benchmark, there is absolutely no justification for his appointment to become part of the board of directors of this new company.

With reference to Bursa Malaysia, MAS recorded a total loss of over RM4.22 billion between September 2011 and September 2015.

In Ahmad Jauhari’s first three months in 2011 as MAS CEO, the airline recorded a loss of over RM1.3 billion in Q4 alone. The net loss for the financial year of 2011 was RM2.52 billion. The airline subsequently recorded a loss of RM430 million in 2012, followed by RM1.168 billion in 2013. In 2014, losses as of Sept 31 were recorded at RM1.32 billion. Malaysia Airlines was delisted in December 2014.

By June 2015, all 20,000 Malaysia Airlines employees received termination letters, with 14,000 of them offered new employments with new terms and conditions whilst the remaining 6,000 employees terminated and are now out of job.

It is truly scandalous that while the man largely responsible for mismanagement and the failure of MAS is being brought back and rewarded with a generous director’s pay and perks, thousands of other employees who had loyally served MAS are dismissed.

As a director of the board he will technically oversee the new CEO. The latter will therefore not have the free hand that he is supposed to have to implement plans to turn MAS around. As a director, Ahmad will in all probability take positions that would protect his legacy.

It is unheard of to make appointments of this nature.  If the appointment is to ‘reward’ Ahmad Jauhari, the message being sent is that failure is no bar to being rewarded. The further message is that the ‘new’ MAS, despite all talk of change, will be burdened with baggage from the past. Evidently, there appears to be no intention to make changes that have dragged the national airline down.

Khazanah owes a full explanation for its decision to the public at large for this atrocious decision. It must rescind this indefensible decision.  

I strongly urge the review of Ahmad Jauhari’s appointment and request a clarification from Khazanah Nasional for the board selection criteria of Malaysia Airlines. Whilst many are being left unemployed in the name of saving MAS, I can't imagine why the most under-performing CEO of MAS is being rewarded with such an appointment.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, and PKR vice-president and elections director.

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