KUALA LUMPUR – The Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) has supported the proposal by an Umno MP to the government to award another low-cost carrier licence.
It also suggested that the new licence be given to the Sarawak and Sabah governments to jointly establish an airline to serve the interests of East Malaysians.
“Since Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is beyond salvation and AirAsia has become a ‘bully airline’, East Malaysia should start thinking seriously of the increasing demands of their travelling citizens,” MoCS leader Francis Paul Siah said today.
“The new airline can also cater for the greater Borneo and the Asean region and it can be called Borneo Airways. An airline owned by Sabah and Sarawak is long overdue,” Siah added in a statement.
In Parliament yesterday, Pasir Salak MP Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has proposed that the Government award another low-cost carrier licence to give some competition to AirAsia.
The Star quoted Tajuddin as saying that he used to support AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes but was now saddened by his attitude.
“He represented a successful Malaysian and an entrepreneur who came from nowhere to become successful in the airline industry.
“But lately, I am saddened by the change in his attitude. I am not going to support him any more,” he said during debate on the Supplementary Supply Bill.
Siah concurred with Tajuddin’s negative statement about AirAsia, saying the airline has continued to come up with ‘ingenious’ plans to impose unfair charges on passengers.
He cited the new RM10 counter check-in fee and the exorbitant baggage charges as examples of passengers’ grouses against AirAsia. There are numerous other complaints.
“AirAsia insists that passengers deal with the airline online. Those who want help from an AirAsia staff will have to pay a fee. This tantamounts to daylight robbery.
“AirAsia should know that there are still many Sabahans and Sarawakians who are not tech-savvy and are not used to dealing with a ‘faceless’ airline. This is what AirAsia has turned into – a ‘faceless, selfish monster’.
“I join Datuk Tajuddin, MP Wee Choo Keong and others in withdrawing my support for AirAsia,” Siah stated.
Idris Jala can helm Borneo Airways
The MoCS leader said that there is a ready airline boss in Sarawakian Datuk Seri Idris Jala, the current Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who could helm a new airline.
“Idris has done well in MAS and he would also have a ready pool of airline staff if MAS was to trim its personnel as part of its current restructuring exercise,” Siah said.
“What’s left now is the political will of the Sabah and Sarawak governments to venture into the airline industry which should not be considered ‘unchartered territory’ now”, he said.
Also in Parliament yesterday, Wee Choo Keong (Ind-Wangsa Maju), agreed with Tajuddin’s remarks saying AsiaAsia’s success was due to government help.
“The time has come for the Government to stop bowing to them (AirAsia). If they want to move to Jakarta, let them go. Let us see if they will get the same treatment there,” said Wee, adding that Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd should not be afraid to get the company to pay what it owed in airport tax.
“If they do not pay up, stop providing facilities to them.”