MAS Bill passed, existing contracts to continue under new management

KUALA LUMPUR - Existing contracts for the provision of goods and services to Malaysia Airlines will be continued to the new management where required by the administrator, following an amendment to the Malaysian Airline System Bhd (Administration) Bill 2014, which was approved by the Dewan Rakyat Thursday.

An amendment was made to Clause 14 of the Bill with regards to "transition services".

Under the clause, those with existing contracts shall continue to provide their goods or services, where required by the administrator, to the new Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) to ensure the business will not be disrupted until the company finds a new supplier.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said the transition clause was included to allow the new entity to renegotiate terms with existing suppliers.

"If the current suppliers do not agree with the new terms, they will still have to continue providing goods and services on a temporary basis until the administrator is able to find an alternative supplier," he said when winding up the debate on the Bill.

The Bill, which was tabled for first reading on Wednesday, was passed at about 5pm Thursday after a heated debate.

There was also a question if alcohol should be served on board flights following the restructuring exercise.

Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (PAS-Bachok) highlighted the point that there were Muslims who felt unsettled at free alcohol being served on international flights.

"You may say that the choice to drink alcohol lies with the passenger. But the cost of the alcohol is included in the airline ticket paid by all passengers," he said.

He also noted that MAS had been ranked among the top five airlines for wine lovers.

"The new entity, Malaysia Airlines Bhd, could also cut costs by ending contracts for alcohol supplies," he said.

However, Tan Sri Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) suggested that only non-Muslim cabin crew members served alcohol during flights to non-Muslim passengers.

He said that even in PAS-led Kelantan, non-Muslims were allowed to sell alcohol to non-Muslim customers.

"Perhaps the new MAS can emulate the Kelantan government in this sense," he said.