DAP: Let Fernandes and Ahmad Jauhari go head-to-head
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — The DAP wants Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to drop Tan Sri Tony Fernandes from its board so the AirAsia boss can compete with the flag carrier’s new chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.
The party’s international secretary, Liew Chin Tong, said today the appointment of Ahmad Jauhari, who had transformed Malakoff Berhad from a “once-sleepy company into Malaysia’s largest independent power producer,” did away with the need for AirAsia CEO Fernandes to continue on the MAS board.
“Unshackle the talented Fernandes and Jauhari to compete head-to-head. Ordinary Malaysians will benefit, while competition can only make AirAsia and MAS stronger,” he said in a statement.
The Bukit Bendera MP said the government should cancel the controversial share swap deal between the two airlines which enabled Fernandes and his partner Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Meranun to sit on the MAS board and ostensibly help turn it around.
Liew (picture) also cited Johor Baru MP Datuk Seri Shahrir Samad’s complaint earlier this week that MAS subsidiary Firefly has cancelled flights from Senai Airport to Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Surabaya, Bandung and Bangkok following the MAS-AirAsia collaboration.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers had earlier told MAS to dispose of its subsidiary Firefly to ensure competition for air travel after the national carrier’s share swap with AirAsia.
DAP publicity chief Tony Pua had said even if there was no active price fixing “there will be collusion as ‘I don’t reduce, you don’t reduce, we all make money’.”
But MAS announced last Tuesday its subsidiary will now focus on its turbo-prop fleet, with all its jet aircraft being redeployed into the parent company’s operations by December 4.
MAS and AirAsia inked the deal on August 9, which allows the loss-making national carrier to swap a 20 per cent stake for 10 per cent in Asia’s top money-making budget carrier.
But Liew said today that “when competitors like MAS and Air Asia choose to collabo, consumers lose. Collaboration means fewer flights, just like what is now happening in Johor, and higher ticket prices.”
“Firefly is now moving up to a full-service model. With the competition from Firefly gone, what will prevent AirAsia from increasing prices?” Liew asked.
MAS had announced in August a net loss of RM527 million for the second quarter of 2011 due to higher fuel costs despite recording a better yield and a nine per cent growth in passenger revenue from the same period last year.
This brings total losses in the first half of the year to RM769 million even as the airline said that profit outlook for the second half of the year appears bleak.
MAS had been doing well until the Asian financial crisis hit in 1998, which later led to its assets being sold off to resolve its balance sheets.