KOTA KINABALU: Sabah, as a minority shareholder in Malaysia Airlines, is objecting to the carrier's move to slash flights from the state capital to various international destinations.
State-owned Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd said besides affecting investment and tourist arrivals, MAS' move would discourage other airlines from flying out of Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
Warisan Harta, the state government's investment arm, represents the state as the minority shareholder in the airline.
Its chairman Datuk Ramlee Marahaban said MAS should focus on fulfilling its social obligations instead of merely thinking about its commercial ambitions.
Ramlee said there were concerns that the recent share swap deal between Khazanah Nasional the Federal Government's investment arm and Tune Air Sdn Bhd would result in both MAS and AirAsia merely protecting their commercial interests.
He said the Sabah government's views as a minority stakeholder in MAS were not sought before the share swap deal was worked out.
MAS will suspend its twice weekly Kota Kinabalu-Osaka service from Jan 6 and thrice weekly Kota Kinabalu-Perth flights from Jan 31.
Its chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said MAS was also suspending its four times weekly Kota Kinabalu-Haneda flights from Feb 1 and Kota Kinabalu-Seoul flights from Feb 21 as part of its rationalisation plan.
State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjum said although he had been briefed by MAS officials on its reason for slashing the flights, he did not necessarily agree with the move.
He said he had directed Sabah Tourism Board officers to discuss with other airlines the possibility of them handling the services suspended by MAS.