Share swap: MPs turn up the heat

By Syed Jeymal Zahiid, FMT

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya has failed to give a convincing explanation on the controversial share swap between AirAsia and national carrier MAS in Parliament as lawmakers from both sides took to task the government’s failure to allay fears that the deal will lead to a monopoly.

Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat MPs claimed that the swap, done under the “Comprehensive Collaborative Framework (CCF)” supposedly aimed at turning MAS’ fortunes around, was a one-way traffic that benefited the budget carrier only.

Wee Choo Keong (Independent-Wangsa Maju) and Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kuching) claimed that AirAsia was profiting from Firefly’s cancellation of its Johor Baru-Kuching-Kota Kinabalu route as a result of the swap.

Chong alleged that fare had been increased while flights to East Malaysia decreased in frequency.

Wilfred Bumburing (BN-Tuaran) accused AirAsia of forcing MAS out of the Sabah-China flights, the state’s most lucrative route.

“Don’t just give big words like the CCF. What does it mean, how does the collaboration work? The government has so far failed to explain how the framework is helping,” asked Wee during the Transport Ministry’s winding up on the 2012 Budget debate.