Following accusations that something was amiss with his sudden removal of Merpati Nusantara Airline’s president director, State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said on Tuesday that the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) should audit the airline to ensure transparency.
“It would be good if Merpati is audited so that the problem can be addressed,” Dahlan said after a meeting of his ministry’s top brass, as quoted by the Antara news agency as saying.
On May 14, Dahlan announced that Rudy Setyopurnomo, the former president director of Indonesia Airlines, would replace Sardjono Jhony Tjitrokusumo as head of Merpati.
That spurred a group of Merpati employees said they would go to BPK to seek an audit of the company.
His comment came after some Merpati employees announced they would go to the BPK to seek an audit of the company.
The critics said the change in the company’s leadership was, according to a former Merpati corporate planning chief Erry Wardhana, “sudden, not transparent and seems to give the image that the shareholders are hiding something.’
Shortly after his appointment, Rudy said Merpati was losing up to Rp 3 billion ($324,000) per day.
Dahlan said he would give Rudy a free hand with Merpati.
“He [Rudy] knows what has to be done,” Dahlan said. “If it is said there is a Rp 3 billion loss per day, then this should be cleared.”
“Technically, Merpati is an unhealthy corporation,” Dahlan added. “It has a lot of debt.”
Replacing Sardjono with Rudy might help solve Merpati’s problems, but they might not, Dahlan said.
“I am not convinced the president director of Merpati can overcome [the problems],” Dahlan said. “I am also not convinced Merpati can become much better.”
Rudy would have six months to show an improvement, Dahlan said. The airline would receive no more capital injections, he added.
“Merpati has been injected with hundreds of billions [of rupiah]. Do the people want their money be used for Merpati?” he said, according to Antara.