Malaysian aviation body protests AirAsia's claim of pressure

Adjust Comment Print

The group chief executive officer of Malaysia-based low-priced airline AirAsia has apologised for going out of his way to back ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak and his party, Barisan Nasional (BN) in the run-up to the May 9 elections in Malaysia.

Najib was ousted by former leader Mahathir Mohamad in a shock election result last week.

Fernandes's apology did not seem to placate investors, as according to Reuters, shares in AirAsia tumbled almost 10 percent on Monday before closing down 5.4% in the first trading session after markets opened for the first time since the election.

This angered Netizens and Malaysians at large, where calls to boycott AirAsia were issued. In a highly regulated industry where its main rival is state-owned Malaysia Airlines, it relies on government approvals to support its growth plans.

"I'm sorry for what has gone on". It wasn't right, I'll forever regret it.

AirAsia shares fell as much as 10 percent on Monday but later recovered slightly, compared with a 0.9 percent fall in the broader Malaysian index.

Fernandes in a video released Sunday publicly apologized for supporting defeated Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose long-ruling coalition lost the May 9 election. But delays in receiving ballot posts, a distrust about whether they would be counted correctly, and the need for on-the-day votes to be cast in people's home districts all drove demand for more flights.

"As Rafidah's impact and popularity grew, the pressure grew exponentially".

"I've been under pressure many, many times before but I withstood it", he said.

Najib's aides could not be reached for comment.

"Mavcom views Tan Sri Tony Fernandes' claims as serious accusations and has lodged a police report", Mavcom said in a press statement over Tony Fernandes' video clip explaining why he buckled up to the previous Barisan Nasional government during the GE14 campaign period.

The government's challengers had criticised the mid-week polling date as a bid to dampen voter turnout and make it harder for Malaysians living overseas to return home to vote.

The commission is mandated under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 (or Act 771) to act as an independent regulator for economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia.

"Furthermore, to Fernandes' statement that '...within 24 hours, we were summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission ...', the commission categorically refutes that any AirAsia staff were summoned at all material times between April 17 and 13, 2018 to appear before the commission regarding this matter", Mavcom clarified in its statement.