Khairy questions Idris Jala’s track record

(The Malaysian Insider) – Khairy Jamaluddin ridiculed today Datuk Seri Idris Jala’s track record during his tenure as Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAS) boss as well as the minister in charge of Putrajaya’s Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).

The Umno Youth chief posted on micro-blogging site Twitter that “running a beleaguered premium flag carrier needs more imagination than being able to give a slick ppt presentation or unbundling its assets.”

“I think one of Idris Jala’s best career move was leaving MAS to become Minister. He didn’t actually need to run MAS beyond ‘turnaround’,” the Rembau MP added, referring to questions raised over Jala’s record as MAS chief executive.

The imminent share swap between the national carrier and thriving budget airline AirAsia has cast the spotlight on Jala’s four years at MAS.

After being appointed to the position by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in 2005, he implemented a turnaround plan from a nine-month loss of RM1.3 billion in 2005 to a record profit of RM850 million in 2007.

But Khairy’s (picture) tweets today reflected criticism levelled at the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, that he achieved healthy figures through asset stripping, a strategy that he has repeated as part of the administration’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

The ETP, which aims to double per capita income by 2020, will see “non-core” government and government-linked-company assets being divested, a move some say reflects the Treasury’s need for additional cash.