A flight attendant who was sacked for being about 700g heavier than the airline's maximum weight allowance has lost her unfair dismissal case in court.
Malaysia Airlines flight supervisor Ina Meliesa Hassim had been with the airline for about 25 years when she lost her job in 2017.
Under company policy, flight attendants had to ensure their body mass index (BMI) was in the "healthy" range, Malaysian news outlet The Edge Markets reported. For 160cm-tall Ms Hassim, that meant her weight could be no greater than 61kg.
Her contract was terminated when an official weigh-in found she weighed 61.7kg.
Ms Hassim filed a complaint against the company for unfair dismissal.
But a Malaysian industrial court ruled in favour of Malaysia Airlines at a hearing on February 14.
"The court is convinced that the company had provided the claimant with ample opportunities and chances to comply with the company's policy and that despite the many opportunities, however, the claimant had consistently failed to achieve her optimal weight," court chairman Syed Noh Said Nazir said in the ruling, according to The Edge Markets.
The court found the airline had been clear to staff regarding its weight policy and how it was necessary to "maintain its image as a premium airline".
"As cabin crew, apart from maintaining the appearance as set by the company, you are also responsible to ensure the safety of our passengers while in flights," the airline said in a memo to staff in 2015.
"Being front liners in uniform, cabin crew cast an unforgettable image in the minds of our valued guests.
"It is for this reason that the company considers the feedback received from our customers on the image of crew and inevitably even the appearance of cabin crew has been included as one of the attributes in the passenger flight experience survey and which is being tracked monthly.
" … With this policy in place, the airline will see healthier cabin crew who will project an image befitting that of the world's best cabin staff as well as for ensuring the passengers' safety when the necessity arises."
Malaysia Airlines told the court Ms Hassim had failed to attend scheduled weigh-ins in addition to not achieving the optimal weight, and that she had been offered consultation with an aviation doctor.
Her lawyers unsuccessfully argued major airlines such as Qantas, British Airways and Lufthansa did not have minimum BMI weights for cabin crew and that less than 1kg of extra weight would not prevent Ms Hassan from doing her job properly.
This case is far from the first time a flight attendant's weight has come under close scrutiny.
In January last year, a leaked staff memo revealed Pakistan International Airlines instructed "obese" cabin crew workers to lose weight within six months or risk losing their jobs.
The memo, dated January 2, revealed that management for the airline had decided to "gradually reduce waiver of 30 lbs (13.6kg) excess weight to zero lbs in upcoming months for the cabin crew".
"If any crew found above 30 lbs from the desired weight after January 31, 2019 will be grounded and referred to Aircrew Medical Centre for medical evaluation and treatment until weight is reduced up to desired standard/BMI," the memo read.
And in 2015 Air India said it would permanently ground 130 members of its cabin crew workforce who failed to lose enough weight to achieve a BMI of less than 22.