'Malaysians are stupid' and don't know how to run an airline, says former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad

Mahathir Mohamad’s claims of inadequacy of Malaysians follows news that the country’s airline will get its first foreign chief

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The Independent Online

Malaysians are “stupid”, according to the country’s former Prime Minister, and they do not know how to run an airline.

Mahathir Mohamad reportedly made the remarks following the news that the beleaguered Malaysia Airlines is to have its first foreign chief executive.

Malaysian news site Malaysiakini reported Mr Mohamad as saying: “Malaysians are stupid. They don’t know how to manage aviation,” after the announcement from the Malaysian government that Christoph Mueller, the current chief executive of Ireland's Aer Lingus, will take the helm at the national carrier. 


The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines’ MH370, with 239 people on board while en route to Beijing in March this year, and the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine that killed all 298 people on board, has left the airline’s reputation severely marred.

The carrier was already struggling with chronic financial problems before the deadly disasters, and since the tragedies it has cut 30 per cent of its current workforce in an effort to cut costs.

Khazanah Nasional, the state investment arm of Malaysia airlines, aims to return the carrier to profitability by the end of 2017, and the appointment of the German chief executive is part of its turnaround plan.

Mr Mueller is expected to take up his new position in March next year.

Additional reporting by AP