A MULTITUDE of reports in the mainstream media are speculating that the share swap deal between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia, signed in August last year together with a comprehensive collaboration framework (CCF), will be scrapped, possibly as early as this Wednesday.
Speculation on this issue had intensified after officials of MAS’ eight unions and associations, representing some 22,000 individuals, met with Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak in February to protest the deal.
The unions and associations were particularly upset about the 20.5 per cent stake Tune Air (representing AirAsia) has in MAS and the presence of AirAsia’s two top officials Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin on the board.
Meetings have been held between finance ministry officials and MAS CEO, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, aviation experts including former MAS CEO, Abdul Aziz Rahman, and union officials.
Abdul Aziz, who opposes the deal, had said that it would not resolve the problems faced by MAS. He called for the deal to be unwound by the return of the share swap between MAS and AirAsia, and for Fernandes and Kamarudin to step down from MAS’ board to avoid conflicts of interest.
It is believed that the forthcoming annual general election, which could be held as early as in June, was the reason behind the government’s willingness to listen to the unions and to seriously consider retracting the deal. Inclusive of spouses and families, the unions have been estimated to command 100,000 votes.
World Discovery Travel business development manager, Joseph Xavier, said: “The deal is…anti-competition, with the special arrangement benefiting only one airline. The loss of (MAS subsidiary) Firefly’s services on various routes (following the deal) is an example of this.
“Let airlines be competitive on their own and there will be more competitive prices in the market.”