“I buckled, it wasn’t right, I will forever regret it.”
Tony Fernandes has spoken out about his publicity stunt with ex-premier Najib that sent shockwaves throughout the nation. Many have responded with disdain and anger for him picking sides and showing support for the previous Barisan Nasional coalition government. However in a video that he released on his Facebook page earlier this evening, he explained his motives for buckling at “this crucial time in our history”.
He started off mentioning how Air Asia is in a very regulated industry, where almost everything needs approval from the government. He then put his decision down to two main pressures from the then Barisan Nasional government:
‘I was asked to remove Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz as chairman of the board of AiraAsia X’
Source: The Star Online
When Tan Sri Rafidah had started to become more verbal in her criticism of the government and her support for Pakatan Harapan, he was instructed to drop her from the board. He came under intense pressure as she become more popular. However he claims he was firm and said nothing to her of the issue.
‘Told to cancel extra flights that carry the Rakyat home to vote’
As election season approached, the rakyat had begun requesting for more flights and lower fares so that they could go back to vote. In response AirAsia included 120 extra flights, on top of their usual amount, which would have carried 26,000 people. They also reduced ticket prices to RM99 for flights within the peninsula, and RM129 to flights to East Malaysia.
However when the government got word that they were ferrying more voters, within 24 hours he was summoned by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and told to cancel those flights.
To get the pressure off, he believed the right move was to make a neutral and factual video in hopes that it would appease the government and protect the jobs of the staff. In the sombre video he says “It was a decision made in the spur of the moment to protect that baby (AirAsia) who has given so much to Malaysians.”
He added, “This is my baby that we’ve built. It’s not a baby driven by profits, not by my pocket. It’s a baby that I’m very proud of.”
Tony has promised to give 150% in the future, and hopes to once more regain the respect and forgiveness of the rakyat to make up for his mistake. One has to give him credit for explaining himself and his prompt apology.
Watch the video below:
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