Malaysia Airlines to lay off all staff, re-hire two-thirds

Debt-ridden Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is likely to lay off its entire workforce of 20,000 to start afresh as as a smaller airline with a regional focus rather than international, a media report said Monday.

Kuala Lumpur: Debt-ridden Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is likely to lay off its entire workforce of 20,000 to start afresh as as a smaller airline with a regional focus rather than international, a media report said Monday.

MAS, one of Malaysia's biggest government-linked companies hit by twin tragedies of MH370 and MH17, will terminate the job of its 20,000-employee workforce, and then offer new contracts to two-thirds of them, the Straits Times reported.

The only person spared in this restructuring plan would be chief executive Christoph Mueller, the report said.

This is part of the last-ditch effort to remake the MAS, saddled with debts for several years now, even before the twin tragedies.

But no government-liked company (GLC) in Malaysia has ever sacked nearly everyone and this could well be the most number of people ever sacked in one day in Malaysia.

Executive chairman of the consulting and audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Mohammad Faiz Azmi has been appointed administrator to oversee the lay-offs and the re-hiring.

He will sign all the termination letters, which will be sent out on Wednesday.

Employees are anxious and morale lowest.

"I thought a GLC was the safest place to work in, but now I don't even know if I will have a job on June 1," said an MAS staff member. "I cannot even think about how I am going to pay for my house and car loans."

The termination is aimed at easing the migration of MAS into a new company, MAS Bhd, which will begin operations on September 1.

The appointment of administrator marks the beginning of the eventual end for MAS as an entity as Faiz's job will be to clean up MAS for closure and transfer all the assets and liabilities to MAS Bhd, as provided for in the MAS Act 2015.

Staff can expect to get two letters -- one for termination of their services with MAS and the other either an offer to join MAS Bhd or an invitation to report to the Corporate Development Centre, which has been set up to retrain axed workers.

"No jobs are safe but some people obviously are," said one staff member.

On March 8 last year, Flight MH370, with 239 people aboard, disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Four months later, Flight MH17, with 289 people on board, crashed in eastern Ukraine, where clashes were escalating between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

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