Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Open Skies" Agreements Can Cause Problems, Says MASEU

The MAS Employees Union (MASEU) has come out to oppose the current open skies initiatives to liberalise air travel within Asean, but of particular interest, between Malaysia and Singapore.

The old, archaic argument that competition will destroy the "national carrier" was the main thrust (of course). Well, as you'd probably know by now, I thoroughly disagree with the notion of sacrificing public money to preserve inefficient, racially discriminatory "national" companies like MAS and Proton. There's more than one way to skin a cat, just like there's more than one way to make sure the Malaysian public's interests are protected, without emptying their pockets or pouring money down the drain.

But I find the other argument raised by MASEU very revealing indeed:

"He [MASEU Secretary-General] said, the agreements would mean that no quota would be imposed for landing rights in the countries concerned. As such, the airports would become busy and congested simply for the sake of competition and would also create problems to MAS workers."
There's something in that statement which I find says volumes about the type of people employed by this "national" company.

"A BUSY airport would also CREATE PROBLEMS for MAS workers!"

Everywhere in the world, we have airports and airport workers trying their best to make their airports as busy as possible so that it continues to make money and the workers can keep their jobs. Only in MAS, do the workers want the opposite for their airport! You've got to ask the question... WHY?

Personally, I can only see 2 possibilities in that statement:

1. MASEU is admitting that MAS workers are naturally LAZY. A busier airport means more work, and more work equals more problems for lazy people.

2. MASEU is saying MAS workers, unlike airport workers in other countries, do not fear for their jobs. They do not fear losing their jobs if the airport is underutilised. Why is that? Maybe it goes back to MASEU's first argument about fearing competition. No competition means job security?

In any case, I hope that the Transport Minister and the Malaysian Cabinet has the backbone to push ahead with this open skies initiative. In the short term, it might mean some pain for MAS and their workers but that should only spur them on to perform better. If it doesn't, well... that simply proves how lousy both MAS and their workers are. And their trivial troubles are NOTHING compared to the greater benefits to the overall public from increased economic activity and lower ticket prices.

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