KUALA LUMPUR, 3 September 2019: The days when governments owned a national airline have long gone according to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Malaysia’s PM said the country could still have a national airline, but it did not necessarily have to be owned by the government.
“Now you can have a number of airlines. One of those can be called a national airline because it carries the symbol (of the nation), but it can be operated by the private sector,” he said in a feature that first appeared in ‘Going Places’, the in-flight magazine of Malaysia Airlines.
He was responding to a question on whether there was still value in having a national carrier other than for patriotism or pride.
The World’s oldest PM at 93, Dr Mahathir recalled that he always flew with Malaysia Airlines and enjoyed the inflight foodservice.
“The food was good, and of course, being the PM, I get to fly in First Class,” he said.
On the future of tourism in Malaysia ahead of the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 celebrations, the Prime Minister believes there are too many bureaucratic procedures in the sector, and they should be reduced.
The Prime Minister is on a three-day official visit to Cambodia, this week and will sign off on a double tax avoidance agreement to support trade and investments between the two countries.
He will also sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on tourism cooperation to stimulate the tourism industries in both countries and promote two-way travel.
The last time Dr Mahathir made a working visit to the kingdom was 25 years ago.
Cambodia is one of the last countries in the region to sign a DTA agreement with Malaysia, which should bring long-term benefits for the business community in both countries.
Cambodia is Malaysia’s eighth biggest trade partners in ASEAN, and 50th biggest trade partner in the World with a value of MYR.8 billion during the first six months of this year. It represents an increase of 39.2% year-on-year.