Tony Fernandes in the first of a two-part Malaysiakini’s interview with the AirAsia boss talks about the attacks - at times personal - that have been leveled against him in cyberspace.
Malaysiakini: Other than the proposed KLIA East @ Labu airport, another issue you should be worried about is the impending change of leadership in about two months’ time. There’s talk that you’re close to the present prime minister and Khairy Jamaluddin, his son-in-law. They (the new leadership) could easily, in two months’ time, mothball the project.
Tony Fernandes: One of the main things that has been talked about is AirAsia’s purported closeness (with certain individuals).
I have a hotel business, an aviation business, and a financial portal. None of these really require government approval as far as the hotel and financial portal are concerned. I can get on and do my business. I go and buy my building, I have to get planning permission and approval, off we go.
In my business here (AirAsia), I need routes. In most countries, routes are fairly liberalised. Send your application over and it’s either a yes or no. Most of it is open skies (in other countries). Here, you need to get approval from both governments. And the national airlines (MAS) has an enormous amount of clout.