The red advert screamed “The Airline that Got Balls”. The recent advert pronouncing the shirt sponsorship deals between QPR football club and MAS and Air Asia really got the people in MAS and some quarters riled up. At a time when MAS is bleeding profusely and reporting losses to the tunes of several hundreds millions, the company still can afford to spend money to sponsor a foreign football club. Of course the club is now owned by Malaysians, but why MAS is having to fork out the bigger share of the deal, knowing very well that MAS is financially weaker of the two?. No doubt both Tony Fernandes and Kamaruddin abstained from being involved in the decision making.
Earlier reports indicated that MAS unions are flatly against the union of Air Asia and MAS, especially with the prospective establishment of a new carrier called Sapphire. They saw it as a ploy by Air Asia/MAS management to bypass the powerful MAS union which over the years had several run-ins with MAS management. TWU had also threw its weight behind MASEU, cautioning MAS that they will report MAS to the ILO.
The amalgamation of MAS and Air Asia is seen as a clever manouvre to enable Air Asia to gain control of MAS and as an honourable way to save MAS from going under. Going by the current performance Air Asia is blooming and MAS is shrinking. After several attempts to revive it, MAS still cannot sustain its profitability. The share swap exercise is seen as the latest effort to salvage the pride of MAS to save it from going into the path of Pan Am, Sabena, Air Caledonian, etc which had become aviation history.
As a tax paying citizen, I am not too bothered about the merger of the two as long as it will bring out benefits to the nation.