Use new laws to stop merger, govt urged


By Joseph Tawie, FMT

KUCHING: The government must intervene and stop the merger between Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia because such a deal would not benefit the people and would only lead to a monopoly in the air transport industry, Sarawak DAP said.

Party secretary Chong Chieng Jen said “ultimately the consumers will lose out”.

“The government must stop the merger. We have the Anti-Trust Act or the Competition Act which will take effect on Jan 1, 2012.

“The Act will protect consumers against market abuse from cartel activities and monopolies or from unscrupulous trading practices of cartel and monopoly business.

“The government can use the Competition Act to prohibit the monopoly. As a shareholder in MAS, the government has every right to stop the merger, and yet the government is not stopping it,” he said.

Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP, said the whole merger exercise “is wrong”.

According to him, if the Barisan Nasional allows this deal to go through, it simply means that it “is not serious in protecting the right of the consumers”.

Chong also urged the people not to believe claims by Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha that the merger may not result in an increase in airfares.

“Even though he has told us not to worry, his promise will amount to nothing. In the end, the airfares will be increased and we the consumers will be at the losing end.

‘Not a merger’

“I urge the government not to proceed with the merger in the interest of consumers,” said Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa asemblyman.

Asked whether Sarawak government should support his call as Sarawakians will suffer most, Chong said: “All governments that have the interest of the people at heart should oppose monopoly in the air transport industry.”