Malaysia Airlines could be sold or shut down, says PM

The 71-year-old airline has been on the ropes since 2014 when Flight MH370 disappeared and MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made missile over war-torn Ukraine. (Shutterstock)
Updated 12 March 2019

Malaysia Airlines could be sold or shut down, says PM

  • Mahathir Mohamad: We will be studying and investigating as to whether we should shut it down or we should sell it off or we should refinance it
  • Mahathir, 93 and in his second stint as premier, is seeking to reduce a mammoth national debt inherited from the previous, corruption-plagued regime

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines may be sold or shut down, Malaysia’s leader said Tuesday, the latest bad news for a carrier that has been in crisis since suffering the loss of two planes.
The 71-year-old airline has been on the ropes since 2014 when Flight MH370 disappeared and MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made missile over war-torn Ukraine.
With the carrier teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, sovereign wealth fund Khazanah stepped in to take it over several years ago and major reforms were instituted, including cutting thousands of staff.
But it has continued to fare poorly and its performance was blamed in large part for a set of poor financial results released by Khazanah last week.
Responding to questions about the airline’s future, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told reporters in parliament: “I think it is a very serious matter, to shut down the national airline.
“We will nevertheless be studying and investigating as to whether we should shut it down or we should sell it off or we should refinance it.”
Official news agency Bernama reported that Khazanah last week posted a pre-tax loss of 6.3 billion ringgit ($1.54 billion) for 2018, compared with a pre-tax profit of 2.9 billion ringgit the year before.
Mahathir, 93 and in his second stint as premier, is seeking to reduce a mammoth national debt inherited from the previous, corruption-plagued regime.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement it had been “working closely” with Khazanah on the next phase of its turnaround plan since September.
The disappearance of Flight MH370, which was carrying 239 people, remains one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries, and successive searches have failed to find the plane.


Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

Updated 21 October 2020

Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

  • Competition and Consumer Commission launched Australian court action against Google in July

CANBERRA, Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google, the commission chairman said Wednesday after the US Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.
Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the US case filed Tuesday as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years.
“I’m delighted the D.o.J.’s taking it on and we’ll follow it really closely,” Sims told the National Press Club, referring to the US Department of Justice.
“We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” Sims added.
Separately, Sims is drafting legislation to address the imbalance in bargaining power between Google and the Australian media businesses that want the tech giant to pay for journalism.
The bills, that will be ready to be introduced to Parliament by December, would empower an arbitrator to make binding decisions on how much Google and Facebook must pay media companies for news content.
Sims said his commission “had a lot of talk” with the US Justice Department before he released a report in July last year that recommended more government regulation on the market power of Google and Facebook that would ensure fair deals for other media businesses and more control for individuals on how their data was used.
Sim’s commission launched Australian court action against Google in July alleging the California-based company misled account holders about its use of their personal data.
The commission alleges the Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that Google collects about users’ Internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.
In October last year, the commission sued Google in an Australian court alleging the company broke consumer law by misleading Android users about how their location data was collected and used. That case will be heard by the Federal Court next month. Google also denies that allegation.
Sims said Google was lobbying “every politician at Parliament House” ahead of draft legislation being introduced to make it pay for news.
Google has said the proposed laws would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”
Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.