The newly revamped national carrier Malaysia Airlines Berhad termination and rehiring exercise is currently underway. 6000 people woke up unemployed this week. The knock on effect of these terminations will go far beyond the employees who were terminated by Malaysia Airlines; their spouses, children and other dependent family members too will be put through short to long term hardships while their breadwinners await retraining and new employment.
The events of this week, and indeed the past few months are a terrible culmination of the tragedies that has beset Malaysia Airlines since March 2014 when MH370 was lost, followed by the shooting down of MH17 over war torn eastern Ukraine. These events severely shook the morale of all Malaysia Airlines employees, and the current state of affairs will undoubtedly be a further blow to their already frail morale.
Our hearts go out to the families, friends and colleagues of all the passengers and crew who perished in these twin tragedies.
There has been much anger directed towards Malaysia Airlines employees and the Malaysia Airlines Employees Union (MASEU) over the past week over social and traditional media outlets. They have been blamed for the downfall of the national carrier, and there is little sympathy for those who are lost their jobs.
It is a shame that these misperceptions exist, the vast majority of the 20,000 Malaysia Airlines employees are honest and hardworking people who did their best for the company. Thousands put in years, if not decades of dedicated service and brought the airline to great heights. More than anything, what kept Malaysia Airlines going all this while was the special pride the employees had for our national icon. While there is undoubtedly some blame on the unions, Malaysia Airlines is on its knees today due to two decades of blatant mismanagement and political interference.
Over the years Malaysia Airlines signed lopsided contracts that favoured crony companies and personalities, these deals saw the prices of goods and services supplied many times more than the market price. These contracts drastically increased operating costs, and kept cronies on the gravy train by allowing them to rob Malaysia Airlines blind in cahoots with its top management.
Profitable divisions such as Malaysia Airlines Catering were also carved and served to cronies on a silver platter. Favouritism was practiced in managing talent, this saw many bright and capable people being left out in favour of the politically connected and dubious.
These decisions and policies were not made by the employees nor the unions who represented them. These were decisions and policies made by Malaysia Airlinesäó» top management over the past 20 years. The airline was ultimately run as a gravy train based on political expediency instead of the commercial entity that it was and still is.
What is happening to Malaysia Airlines is a microcosm of what is happening to Malaysia as a whole today. Where poor governance ultimately brought a great airline to its knees, poor governance will ultimately bring Malaysia too on its knees.
Tragically it will be the common man, such as the 6000 newly unemployed employees of Malaysia Airlines who will suffer the consequences of irresponsible governance and plundering of the nationäó»s wealth. The happenings in Malaysia Airlines is a stark warning of what is in store for Malaysia as a whole if the executive does not heed lessons from this very bitter chapter in the national carrieräó»s history.
In the meanwhile I call upon all Malaysians to stand in solidarity with the 6000 men and women who lost their jobs this week. We hope and pray that they and their families will not suffer hardships, and that they will get on with their lives as best as possible under the circumstances.