Many of you probably think there is something wrong with me or I am mad to oppose MAS low fare in my previous post 'MAS:Now A Cheapo Airline".
I don't.I opposed the way it was done.
Most Malaysians would be happy to have alternative cheap fares, so am I.
I am not looking at it from that point of view.I am looking at it from the point of business ethic, unfair competition and inconsistent government policies.
When MAS was in financial trouble the rogue businessman Tajuddin Ramli, who headed the company and owned substantial shares in it managed to convince former PM Mahathir Mohammed to take back the embattled airline.One of the main reasons given why MAS lost so much money was due to its domestic operations where government has control over the pricing of fare.
Major portion of domestic networks are in Sabah and Sarawak, which means the two states are the biggest contributor to MAS losses, which is now proven to be a lie and a whitewash.
Sabahan and Sarawakians spent more time and money travelling by air than by roads due to bad conditions of the roads in the states.
Most of the federal-funded roads are badly maintained and dangerous for those not familiar with its topography.
Most of MAS losses were due to mismanagement and without any doubts cronyism and nepotism in giving out contracts to friends and relatives. You would probably still remember when nasi lemak cost the airline RM60 or RM70 per plate.
In the re-organisation of MAS, the government decided to give the domestic sector to Air Asia and MAS to concentrate on its international routes.As usual our fickle-minded government, say something and do something else.
Typical of civil servant mentality, MAS insisted and was allowed to retain the lucrative domestic routes, which as irony as it sounds,are all in East Malaysia which was earlier blamed for the losses.If this is a losing sector why fight tooth and nail to keep it?
In fact MAS gave up very little of its domestic sector.
It flies parallel with Air Asia on all major domestic routes except those with very low load factor, which was given to Air Asia under its subsidiary company.This was later handed back to MAS due to high maintenance costs of the old air crafts taken over by Air Asia from MAS.
Even under unfair competition,volatile and overcrowded market and rising operational costs,Air Asia,through its pragmatism, innovation and aggressive marketing policy managed to turn a one-plane airline to what it is today, the most successful low cost carrier in this region.
Unlike SIA, our national carrier is an infant that refused to grow up and needs breast feeding every now and then.It's incapable of launching new products for the travelling public.It only prides itself over it cabin service in 1st and business class even if it comes at a very high cost.
Instead of competing with the likes of SIA,Cathay and other major premier airlines, it takes the easy way out, become a copycat, copy and compete with the very same airline it copied the concept from, a fledgling airline that doesn't have government crutches to prop it up in the event of financial difficulties.
Like many Malaysians I would be very happy to have more choices of cheaper fare but I think it is wrong for the government to allow MAS to sell zero fare tickets on the same plane used by its full-fare passengers.
If MAS needs to do it ,it should have used one of its subsidiaries,MASWings or Firefly to be a low-cost carrier and compete on the same level playing field.
Many would think Idris Jala is smart,I would say he is void of ideas and our politicians void of convictions.