Malaysia to decide 'soon' whether to shut, sell or refinance Malaysia Airlines: Mahathir

The Malaysian government is considering whether to shut, sell or refinance national carrier Malaysia Airlines. The airline has been trying to return to profitability as it recovers from when flight MH370 disappeared and flight MH17 was shot down.
The Malaysian government was studying options for the national carrier, and a decision should be made "soon", said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday (March 12).
The Malaysian government was studying options for the national carrier, and a decision should be made "soon", said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday (March 12).PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - The Malaysian government is considering whether to shut, sell or refinance national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAB), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday (March 12).

The government was studying options for the national carrier, and a decision should be made "soon", Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked about analysts' suggestions the airline be shut down or spun off.

"It is a very serious matter to shut down the airline," Dr Mahathir told a news conference at Parliament.

"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. All these things are open for the government to decide."

The airline has been trying to transform its operations and return to profitability in 2019 as it recovers from two disasters in 2014, when flight MH370 disappeared in what remains a mystery and flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.

Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which took MAB private in 2014, said the government needed to decide on its investment in, and level of support for, the struggling airline.

The fund also said that it was waiting for MAB to present a review of its business strategy.