KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS)' practice of serving of alcohol on flights and its uniforms for flight attendants sparked a lengthy debate in Dewan Rakyat, with MPs on both sides of the divide calling for a review.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi fielded a multitude of questions from MPs on both sides of the divide during his winding-up speech before the Ministry's budget for next year was passed.
Ahmad Marzuk Shaary (PAS-Bachok) started the ball rolling when he asked if the Ministry would ensure MAS did away with serving alcohol on its international flights, to which Ab Aziz said MAS had never encouraged passengers to indulge in drinks.
Khalid Abd Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) then asked if alcoholic beverages was served for free, including hard liquor like whisky and brandy.
"It is true that when you buy a flight ticket, it includes most of the facilities on board the plane, including food and drinks," said Ab Aziz simply, without further elaboration.
Datuk Abdul Rahman Mohamad (BN-Lipis) joined the call for the availability of alcohol on MAS flights to be stopped completely.
"On a recent flight, I noticed a steward who bore the mark of a religious man on his forehead, but had to serve alcohol to passengers because it was his job.
"This is unfair to a practising Muslim, as he is considered to have broken religious laws (melanggar hukum) eventhough he does not want to do so," he added.
Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (BN-Machang) also raised the issue of flight attendants' uniforms, which he said were too tight and non-compliant to Islamic regulations.
"Any airlines based in Malaysia should prepare flight attendant uniforms that are in line with Islamic teachings," he said.
Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) agreed, saying that flight attendants on flights catering to haj pilgrims had special uniforms that were compliant with Islamic laws.
"The management should extend this to normal flights too, otherwise they could be labelled as hypocrites," he said.
Ab Aziz concluded by saying he would take the suggestions to the MAS management, and leave the decision to the new company to be formed after its restructuring was done.
"I am confident that the restructuring will include a business model with a more Islamic approach," he said.