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Prove interference charges in Malaysia Airlines
FocusM team | 19 Oct 2017 20:23
The attack by certain parties on Khazanah Nasional Bhd over the sudden resignation of Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) CEO Peter Bellew has raised eyebrows. 

They alleged that Bellew was resigning due to interference by Khazanah in running the national airline. They even alleged its previous CEO Christoph Mueller also resigned last year due to interference from Khazanah. 

But these allegations were promptly put to rest when Bellew himself strongly denied that Khazanah had interfered in the running of MAB. He in fact said Khazanah had been “incredibly supportive” of him personally. There had also been no interference from the government. 

“People always ask me how do I cope with government interference. There has been none for me. Zero interference,” he said. Khazanah, in a separate statement, said the speculation was both erroneous and misleading.

Bellew’s denial is a slap in the face for the critics. After all, shouldn’t Bellew know better since he is the CEO and is involved in the day-to-day running of the airline? 

In any case, Khazanah is controlled by the Ministry of Finance. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is both Minister of Finance and chairman of Khazanah. MAB chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof also sits on the board of Khazanah. 
So how can one infer that Khazanah is interfering in MAB when the MAB chairman sits on the Khazanah board? Are the critics inevitably also implying that the prime minister, who is chairman of Khazanah, was party to the interference in MAB? 

Such accusations cast aspersions on not only Khazanah but also the government. Surely those making the accusations should come up with proof instead of making sweeping allegations? They should just name instances of the interference, if any. Bellew was appointed CEO in July last year, succeeding Mueller. So far, he has done a commendable job in turning around MAB. He couldn’t have done it without Khazanah’s support.  

Amidst all these accusations of Khazanah’s interference in MAB, we hope Khazanah itself is given a free rein to run its own operations. Being the sovereign wealth fund, there is always the possibility of politicians trying to interfere in its operations.     
Khazanah MD Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar must be allowed to do his job independently. He has after all proven to be a competent manager who has taken Khazanah to greater heights in the last 13 years. 

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