YAHOO | The Malaysian Insider
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today proposed that a “white man” could be the next Malaysian prime minister following the surprise appointment of a German to take over the ailing Malaysia Airlines.
In his trademark sarcasm, the former prime minister said since Putrajaya had appointed Christoph Mueller as CEO-designate of the national carrier under its restructuring plan, perhaps the nation was ready to have a Caucasian as its PM.
“I am worried, if we do not believe in ourselves, one day when we need a prime minister, we can get a white man because he is ‘smarter’ than us,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
“If people want to get angry (with my comments), so be it. That’s my opinion.”
Dr Mahathir had first taken a dig at Mueller’s appointment last Saturday when he said that Purajaya had resorted to hiring the out going Aer Lingus chief because “Malaysians were stupid”.
“Malaysians are stupid. They don’t know how to manage aviation,” Dr Mahathir was reported as saying.
Commenting further on the issue, Dr Mahathir expressed worry of an increasing distrust towards local expertise in important positions.
According to a Bernama report, Malaysia had many talents which needed to be polished.
“We have many talents in this country. But if they want consultants, they call foreigners. Even directors are foreigners,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the country became prosperous after gaining independence because of the efforts of local leaders.
“I don’t think Malaysians are stupid. During the British occupation, we were a backward country and poor. We became rich and developed after independence, led by Malaysians,” he said.
Dr Mahathir is not the only one to criticise Mueller’s appointment to MAS, which will be effective January 1.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said that although Mueller might be the “best expert” in the airline industry, he could have been appointed as a consultant instead of the CEO.
He said that local energy and expertise should be given priority in heading government-linked agencies or companies and also government subsidiaries as the trust given was a “national responsibility”.
Malaysian Volunteer Lawyers Association (SukaGuam) chairman Datuk Khairul Anwar Rahmat said Putrajaya should have given locals a chance to helm MAS as it involved the dignity and security of the nation.
Elsewhere, former MAS managing director Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman said the appointment of a foreigner was a form of wastage as Malaysia had better local candidates for the job.
However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that Mueller’s appointment was important in laying a strong foundation for the future success of MAS.
Mueller had headed Aer Lingus, the Irish national airline since 2009 and has more than 25 years of experience in the airline, logistics and tourism industries. – December 8, 2014.