PETALING JAYA - The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) has claimed that it was not consulted on Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) new procedural changes on board its flights.
Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said MAS had not formally informed the union of any such changes even though he had caught wind of them unofficially.
"Consultation should have been done before this was imposed. Do not hastily carry out something without prior engagement with the union or crew members themselves," he told The Star, urging MAS to show some consideration.
Ismail, who criticised some of the new guidelines including requiring a flight attendant to stand guard at the cockpit door when food is served in the cockpit, said firmly that "we are not bodyguards".
In addition, he said there was a shortage of cabin crew and service would be interrupted unnecessarily if additional manpower had to be expended in such a way.
He added that flight attendants were safety professionals trained to carry out emergency procedures such as passenger evacuation if anything went wrong.
"But standing guard at the cockpit door is not one of our main priorities. If safety (of the pilots) is the concern, I suggest MAS tell the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), or that the DCA comes up with a policy to assign air marshals on board," he suggested.
He also disagreed with MAS' requirements that a cabin crew member sit in the flight deck until the pilot or co-pilot returned from the restroom, as well as for the crew to keep an eye out for any "suspicious-looking" passenger bringing their hand luggage into the toilet.
Ismail said the changes must not be enforced until talks with all stakeholders were held.
"And if it is necessary, then it must be implemented across all airlines, not just MAS," he said.