2 December 2011
Kang Siew Li email@example.com
Talk of Pos Malaysia Bhd’s outgoing CEO Datuk Syed Faisal Albar Syed Albar taking over the helm at Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) from Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad has gone into overdrive after the postal company announced on Wednesday that the former will leave the company when his contract ends on Dec 31.
Rumours that Bashir will be replaced have emerged since August, shortly after the Malaysia Airlines (MAS)-AirAsia share-swap deal. Then, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, a non-independent director of MAHB, and Syed Faisal were reported to be contenders for the managing director’s post at MAHB. Ahmad Jauhari was subsequently appointed MAS CEO.
Quoting sources, The Edge weekly reported recently that Syed Faisal is once again being tipped to take over from Bashir.
This time though, the speculation is stronger as Bashir faces mounting criticism by AirAsia over the recently-increased airport tax, the rising cost of building the new low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang (klia2) and the delay in its completion.
However, aviation sources said it makes no sense for Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which is the single largest shareholder of MAHB with a 54% stake, to replace Bashir with someone else at a time when klia2 is still being built. The new terminal is said to be 42% completed.
When contacted by SunBiz yesterday, Khazanah said it does not comment on speculation.
"This (klia2) is a national project and he (Bashir) has proven that he knows how to manage airports. To change leadership in the middle of a national construction job, is it really wise?" said an industry source, who asked not to be identified.
"Look at Bashir’s track record. During the past eight years, he has grown MAHB from strength to strength. The company sees a year-on-year double-digit profit growth and its shares have climbed to RM6, with a market capitalisation of RM6.7 billion," he added.
Bashir, 62, was appointed MAHB MD in June 2003, following a three-year tenure as an aviation adviser to the Transport Ministry. He started his career with MAS, holding various senior positions during the 29 years.
During that period, he was instrumental in acquiring traffic rights for the expansion of MAS’ network to international destinations.