Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Today I Dedicate This Posting to Audra,Tony & The Kids.

An Open Letter to Mr. Idris Jalal


I am happy that you have managed to steer MAS into better times. It was a gargantuan task but you have proved your mettle. I have to say that I am proud of you. I definitely am not taking a patronising stand, should it be construed as such.

However, the purpose of this letter is to seek your indulgence to look at a matter that relates to this special day.
I have full confidence that if you have accomplished so much in such short a time you will be able to help Audra put back her live and the lives of her immediate family into some semblance of normalcy.

Audra Atkinson was an employee of MAS for 14 years. Her last designation, before termination in2003, for carrying a third child, was Chief Air Stewardess. Her records, I gather are impeccable. I make this appeal to you for the following reasons:

1. As a Christian, I appeal to you to take another look at her case. As a Catholic, Audra is bound by many religious restrictions, chief amongst which are the use of contraceptive pills and abortion.The Catholic Church has recommended to its faithful, the Rhythm Method, a birth-control method. However, because of the complex procedures, there has been cases where this safe method has resulted otherwise. You can imagine the dilemma she was in when she discovered that she had conceived and I am sure you can empathize with her in that state of mind. Abort or lose her job. MAS did not offer her any other choice. She chose God's law over a flawed Collective Agreement that has contravened a basic right of an individual. Was she wrong to get pregnant? She lost her job but she now has the beautiful Allyson Jade Yew.

2. Sir, as a former IR practitioner you are aware that a Collective Agreement besides spelling out polices and benefits is essentially a dollars and cents affair. As an IR man with a conscience you will agree that this "stop at two" ruling is not only not humane but unconstitutional. As a husband you would not want your spouse to be in such a bind that Audra was in. You were not involved in that CA process, but in your current position, you can make a difference.

3. Your illustrious rise to where you are is prove of your management style. In seminars, I always tell senior managers that their worth is their ability to keep turnover low and their ability to keep talented associates. I tell them that work environment and policies be conducive so that people bring their hearts to work and not leave them in the car park. I tell them that the culture of the company should be such that people WANT to come to work. I know that you are steering MAS in that direction. One of your senior employees told me that you have brought a breath of fresh air into MAS, but in the same breath, he said that he was waiting to spit on the grave of the former owner.

4. You have made giant steps to improve operations. The next task I know you will embark on is the nurturing of your human capital. I have travelled extensively and have alwas chosen MAS. Patriotism has never been the criteria, but excellent service is.

5. I have made two postings on my blog ( The intention was to get a sense of what people thought of MAS. Some still have faith in MAS, others are angry over how employees are treated. Others are incensed and thinks that the Union has sold-out. It was Masaaki Imai, the Kaizen guru who urged management to listen to the complaints of customers and using their complaints to improve on products and services. With you at the helm, I am convinced that your concerted efforts will be directed at best-in-class management practices for MAS.

Sir, in this International Women's Day, I appeal to you, now that you know, to take a personal interest in Audra Atkinson-Yew's case.

I thank you.
(bernard khoo:


Alliedmartster said...

Heartfelt thanks Zorro.

Boh Tong aka Luke Tan said...

Zorro, Very well written and I really feel touched.Pray that all will be well with Tony and family and you too,my blogger buddy.

zorro said...

My dear Bloggers, as Mr. Idris Jalal in no way participated in the termination of Audra from MAS, I appeal to you not to post anything derogatory about him. This unfortunate episode did not happen during his watch. My grateful thanks for your understanding.

susanloone said...

hi zorro what a great post. hope the fellas at MAS see it. all the best to Tony and Audra

Adrian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

It touches me when someone sees another as a human being. Your compassion and sacrifice to help a fellow human being has in my eyes proved that there are good people out there.

Mr. Idris Jalal has also proved that he is a good CEO with what he has done at MAS and I am sure that, since one of the most important thing in managemant is to correct a wrong, Mr Jalal would respond positively to your plea.

What else can I say, keep up the good work.

HSingh said...

Mr Khoo, thats my teacher - very well written sir, respectful, non provocative (which would put a man on defensive) and is sure to stir any merciful human heart into action.

I hope someone also sends a copy of your letter to Mr Jalal, just to be sure he reads it.

chong y l said...

dear matey zorro:

expressed solidarity with Audra and Tony in a short Post, and referenced thee for the education! Cheers, Desi

zewt said...

christianity means nothing nowadays when business is concern. i know of christians who cheat other christians in the name of money.

zorro said...

Zewt, I still have faith in small minority(?) who can move to touch peoples lives. We will not generalise because of a few isolated cases.Pimples come and go in the growing-up process. We need to some some modicum of faith in our people, warts and all. Be happy for all our women on this their day.

MarinaM said...

Zorro, I sympathise with Audra and hope something positive comes out of this for her. But to put it in a larger context, our Constitution was amended in 2004 to disallow discrimination on the basis of gender. The rules under which MAS male and female flight attendants work are different entirely because of gender.It's not just about how many babies you have, it's about how long you can work if you are female.

What is not at all well-known is that MAS does not have any and will not employ women pilots.I know this because a young woman wrote to me saying that it's been her lifelong dream to be a pilot but when she applied to MAS for training, she was not accepted solely because she is female. This is very odd because our Royal Malaysian Air Force already has women piloting jet fighters.As a matter of fact, Air Asia also has its first woman pilot.

It is unconstitutional for companies to discriminate against women, no matter what is in their collective agreements. These should be amended to be in line with the Constitution.

If En Idris Jala (not Jalal, by the way) wants to truly bring MAS into the future, he should also look at these outdated rules which even Malaysian government institutions don't subscribe to anymore.

Alliedmartster said...

Kak Marina,
Thank you for pointing that out to the general bloggers here. Unfortunately, MAS is getting away with all these. Like Zorro said, Idris Jala has only just taken over and he has done good things. Lets hope he does the RIGHT THING.

Lets hope that from all his experience gathered from his stints with International companies will help him make the right decisions.
I don't think he sleeps all that much, and he doesn't suffer from Amnesia!

Can you highlight this again through your channels?

A Voice said...

I second this letter, zorro. I bet all religion is against aborting what God has given to us.

Husin Lempoyang said...


If "our Constitution was amended in 2004 to disallow discrimination on the basis of gender" as pointed out by Dato Marina, lets move this issue to Dato Shahrizat.

jasgill said...

Dear Zorro, teacher.... you are doing the right thing fighting this battle for a lady who has stood up for her right and a husband who has stood by his wife. You deserve this and much more.

Alliedmartster said...

HUsin L,
I bring to your attention Dato'Sharizat's response.
If you look to, you will see newspaper printouts, one of them includes Dato.Sharizat's response.
It goes something like this, that the Stewardess in question has to accept the action, as she contravened an agreement. Also, she went on further to state that the Ministry(hers) will study a 'special paper' on these issues.
I am trying to trace a link, which also states that she supports MAS for MAS is now allowing their Female crew 3 children. Here, she also says that MAS is moving to the right direction, and 'we' should all accept it!
If you notice, politicians have one aim, to please whichever party that gives the politician the best mileage.

Alliedmartster said...

Husin L, this is the link.
Coming from the Minister, 'we have to be realistic'

MarinaM said...

Husin L, as Allied has pointed out, Dato Shahrizat does know about this but doesn't seem willing to go all the way.The point is that male crew can have any number of children without losing their jobs.Nor, unlike female crew, do they have to stop flying after a certain age. This is, by any definition, discrimination.

rodium_plated_pipe said...

Hi Zorro,
Good write up..
If Idris Jala is the kind of CEO we hope he is, he will take the "right steps". After all this is good for marketing and restoring MAS image too. Some company pay millions just to get attention. What else with good deeds which only cost MAS few plates of "Nasi Lemak" they served in the air.Now wouldn't this be a win-win for all ? So how good Idris Jala is ?
"Tepuk dada tanya Selera"


zorro said...

OK gang, let gather momentum...follow-up wit Mr. Idris Jala and zero in on Sharizat. Yesterday she received a memorandum on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. She is shown smiling from ear to ear. Probably she does not know the content of the memo. Or maybe she knows that it is one of those that comes around every 8 March. At best she will give it to her PA. She has until next wednesday to give some concrete "must-do" items. Why next Wednesday? Remember Weekly Goofer of the Week Award.
I am appealing to Bloggers to make this a concerted effort. We have a cause.

A Voice said...

If what is said of Dato Shahrizat is true, then this news report is sheer crap ...


KUALA LUMPUR: (Bernama) A new national policy on women is being drawn up by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to spur women further towards progress.

The new policy would replace the existing one and would be announced in August, the Minister, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil (pictured right) said yesterday. She added that most of the visions and missions under the former policy had been achieved and a new policy must take its place. “We received an allocation from the Cabinet to review the old policy in conjunction with the 50th Merdeka celebrations,” he told reporters after opening the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women here.

Sharizat also said the new policy would open a new exciting era for Malaysian women. She added that if women played the role of stakeholders in development in the past, they would be playing a new role which will be “Without women there will be no development in the country”.

“The thrust of the new policy will be that women will be recognised as an integral part of the economic development of the nation,” she said. On media reports of women discarding babies, Shahrizat said media reports should not portray women as the only quarters to be blamed and they should include men as accountable for the action.

She said, her ministry was considering giving training to a member of each family with problems to enable him or her to give counselling to the others.

mob1900 said...

A new champion for the ordinary folk has risen, ZORRO!

At these times of peril, we'll need all the Heroes we could muster. It is precisely these kind of deeds which are Heroic and stuff legends are made of.

Keep up the good work, Z.

zewt said...

we shall strive to have that faith of a mustard seed...

jasgill said...

Marinam said:
The point is that male crew can have any number of children without losing their jobs.Nor, unlike female crew, do they have to stop flying after a certain age. This is, by any definition, discrimination. (end of quote)

With due respect, I think if we go on the basis of this argument then we end up comparing apples with oranges. Men do not suffer the consequences of bearing children that affects their work as women do. There are ante- and post partum issues, maternity leave, hormonal changes, post partum weight gain, post partum blues, continuation of lactation etc. As for the age factor perhaps female looks are more important than males in the airline industry. Even models may not be employable after a certain age. There is no easy way to fight this. But abuse of a fundamental right to life should be the basis of the fight and not comparing the gender disparity.

yuckcious said...

Didn't she enjoy the benefits of the Collective Agreement when it was in force?

Why, then, are you all fussing over the fact that she has to stop flying (& working) when the terms of the CA are breached?

You cannot have your cake and eat it.

zorro said...

yuckcious: I do not seek your sympathy, but just hope you can share some empathy. What's the cake for if not to be eaten?

Is the Collective Agreement written in stone?

As a female cabin crew member, you dont need to be flying to be working.Other airlines allow no pay leave, desk job etc. but never termination.

By the way, we are not fussing....we have a fight on our hands. You seem to be the only poster of the 20 odd who is fussing.

Unknown said...

Cik Gu

My support for Audra!

zorro said...

TQ, penarik beca buddy. If we dont eat the cake, it turns mouldy...why bake, buy the cake then? No?