MAS was privatised by Mahathir in 1994 as part of the cover up of the BNM FOREX losses, when Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli’s Naluri Berhad purchased 29.1% of the airline.
In 1996, MAS placed an order for 25 aircraft – fifteen B777- 200s and ten B747-400s – at a cost of US$10 billion.
The steep depreciation of the ringgit in late 1997 and dwindling passenger traffic over the following 12 months plunged MAS deeply into the red.
By February 2001, when the Malaysian government finally repurchased Naluri’s 29.1% equity interest in MAS (at more than three times its stock-market valuation), the airline was limping badly under a mountain of debt approaching RM8 billion.
On top of that, the government had to step in to bail-out MAS in 2002 by taking over another RM7 billion debt of MAS.
On top of this, MAS had to sell off its buildings including their HQ in Jalan Sultan Ismail to PNB.
The next year in Oct 2003, Mahathir washed his hands off and retired.
Recently, Mahathir questioned if Najib knows how to run MAS or not and gives his advice on how to make sure MAS won't lose money.