Investigation to commence on MAS-Air Asia share swap deal


Investigation to commence on MAS-Air Asia share swap deal

Investigation to commence on MAS-Air Asia share swap deal

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
  • Tan Sri Azman and Tan Sri Tony
Head of Khazanah Nasional Berhad Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes when the deal was struck

KUALA LUMPUR: After three months of unrelenting accusations and demands for the Malaysia Airlines and AisAsia share swap deal to be investigated, the Public Actions Committee (PAC) decided to take up the issue and has announced its decision to carry out an investigation.


Among the most vocal in demanding the deal to be investigated Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong wrote that PAC Chairman Datuk Azmi Khalid had told the parliament yesterday that the MAS–AirAsia share swap will be investigated, beginning Nov 22.


Wee wrote, “hopefully something good will come out of this investigations for the rank-and-file employees of MAS and the nation.”


He added that the MPs who questioned on the deal in the parliament yesterday have played their role in protecting MAS from being "cannibalised" further.


In his latest posting he hoped that shareholders representing MAS would be able to answer several of his questions, which among others raised issue over  “leakages” in MAS and MAS Cargo.


Other bloggers who had also questioned share swap deal issue, such as Big Dog and Jailani Harun had persistently expressed their doubts to the legitimacy and benefit for MAS to enter into it.


Jailani Harun in his latest posting on his blog "Just Read" wrote if everything about the deal was done properly, there wouldn't have been any opposition.”


He stated although there were many people who supported the deal, a good number of people opposed it as well, due to the fact that Air-Asia, being a private-owned company would dominate one of the largest government-linked agencies.


Tony Fernandes' tweetsTony Fernandes' tweetsBig Dog in his latest posting criticised the series of Tweets made by AirAsia chief executive officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes yesterday.


“It is very inconsiderate for Fernandes to do this, especially where he is now a director and member of the Exco Committee of Malaysia Airlines, which is a GLC under Khazanah.”


The blogger also wrote that many were appalled on the share-swap terms and how Fernandes was  “quick to devour MAS for his advantage, particularly all the airlines under the Tune Air Group.”


Fernandes’ company Tune Air, holds 20.5 per cent of shares in MAS as a result of the deal which was inked on August 9.


Big Dog who have been critical about the deal have previously questioned on the real benefit for MAS in the share swap.


He said although AirAsia was voted as the world's best low-cost carrier, it was a bad paymaster.


It was reported on Monday that some MPs have also raised their dissatisfaction on the deal and wanted it to be investigated.


Barisan Nasional (BN) backbenchers deputy chairman Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin and the other MPs, apart from demanding the deal to be investigated had also questioned on Fernandes' refusal to use the air bridge at KLIA 2 airport.


Fernandes had responded on his Twitter yesterday and hit out at the MPs, saying, “4 MPs have criticised me. Made it very personal for 5 years. One MP said I rape poor villagers. Villagers could never fly before. We have worked so hard to make flying affordable and 130 million people have flown due to us.”


He then questioned why the MPs did not question the cost of airports and fighting for the lower taxes for the people.


Fernandes also said, “Why has the PAC not looked into the airport cost of the new LCCT (low cost carrier terminal) and why a third runway is needed.”


A Twitter user, @_Fadhli asked Fernandes whether it was true that AirAsia owed Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad, to which Fernandes replied, denying the allegations and said it was “completely false and rubbish.”


Business Times carried a news report today which stated that Fernandes’ dissatisfaction was triggered by the hike in airport tax, landing and parking charges.


It was also reported last week that the Securites Commission (SC) is reviewing all the trading data on the swap deal between state investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Tune Air Sdn Bhd of shares in MAS and AirAsia.