AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes, via his official YouTube account, commented (13-May-2018) on alleged interference in the running of the airline by Malaysia‘s Government ahead of the general election on 09-May-2018.
- Mr Fernandes said he was “asked to remove” AirAsia X senior independent non-executive chairman Rafidah Aziz due to her involvement in political campaigns;
- Mr Fernandes said: “I refused to do so because I thought it was not the right thing to do”, and added: “It was getting harder and harder to resist the pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office”;
- Mr Fernandes also decided to add services and reduce airfares to assist Malaysians travelling to vote, even though “I knew it wouldn’t be popular with the government”. He stated: “Unfortunately that put me under more pressure when it was realised by the government that we were ferrying so many voters. Within 24 hours, we were summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission, MAVCOM, and told to cancel all those flights. That put us under, again, tremendous pressure”.
MAVCOM immediately commenced an investigation into Mr Fernandes’ claims, stating it “considers these claims [to be] serious allegations”. [more – original PR]