PUTRAJAYA: The government has to be careful in looking at the four proposals to acquire or manage Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

This is because previous attempts to revive the national carrier had failed and some of those involved had proven to be incapable, he said.

“Many people have made offers, some want to buy, some want only to manage it,” Mahathir told reporters after the closing ceremony of the TVET Conference 2019 on Human Capital Development To Enhance Future Skills Agenda here.

Mahathir was commenting on his recent meeting with AirAsia Group Bhd co-founder Datuk Pahamin Ab Rajab. In the meeting, Pahamin and his business partners had pledged to turn the company around in 18 months and assured there would be no job cuts.

The prime minister said MAS now has to compete with low-cost airlines and it is not easy as many people prefer to use the latter.

Speaking to participants of the dialogue session, he said training youth in TVET is one way the country could reduce its reliance on foreign workers.

He said when foreign workers return to their own countries, they would take all the knowledge they have gain here as well as send millions back to their home country.

If those jobs were done by locals then the knowledge would remain and the money would be spent in the country to spur economic growth, he added.

Mahathir pointed out that there are a large number of unemployed youth and it would be easy for them to get a job if they were to undergo TVET programmes.

“The nation’s economy had previously been agro-based but we have slowly moved onto the manufacturing sector,” he said.

“This was started when the country built its first Proton Saga. This spurred people into looking at manufacturing parts for the car.

“We must be ready to deal with Industry 4.0 which will be reliant on Artificial Technology as part of its growth.”