The Malaysian government is prepared to sell a majority stake in Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) if it continues to "have a say" in how the airline is run, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad told reporters.

As quoted by The Edge Markets, Mahathir said that while the government was willing to listen to any proposals, the prospective investor would have to fulfil certain conditions.

"The main thing now is that number one, we preserve the identity of the airline as a Malaysian airline and number two is that any proposal does not involve the sacking of [Malaysia Airlines] staff," he said.

He added that the government was not willing to continue to inject cash into the carrier but would not accept losing all control over it.

"So we may not have a majority share, but we have to preserve some government role," Mahathir said.

Earlier this year, the PM initiated a review of options for struggling Malaysia Airlines, even floating the possibility of shutting it down. While this was later discounted, the government has continued to look for strategic partners.

So far, an ex-AirAsia Group non-executive chairman was disclosed as one of the potential bidders, having submitted an offer along with five associates. Qatar Airways is also reportedly eyeing a stake in Malaysia Airlines. AirAsia Group has said it is not interested in a merger.

Malaysia Airlines recently inked a commercial partnership with Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi), prompting rumours that the Singaporean carrier might also be interested in a stake.

The carrier is currently wholly-owned by Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.