Friday, January 27, 2012

Aussie Competition Commission: AirAsia’s pricing was misleading

Kerajaan Australia menghukum perbuatan perahan monopolist, Khazanah Nasional MEMBERI monopoli kepada monopolist Tony Fernandez/airasia...

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), an equivalent of Malaysia Competition Commission (MYCC), has filed a lawsuit against AirAsia for failing to disclose the full air fare in its website for the following flights: Melborune and Macau, London, Ho Chi Minh City, New Delhi, Hangzhou & Chengdu, Perth and Taipei, Phuket, Osaka, London, Ho Chi Minh City and Hangzhou, Gold Coast and Ho Chi Minh City. The suit has been scheduled to be heard on 2nd March, 2012.

It has been the business model of AirAsia for not disclosing the full air fare in its website.  There are many ancillary charges / hidden charges like BOOKING SERVICE FEES RM30, CONVENIENCE FEES per passenger per sector RM8, FUEL SURCHARGE RM90 & etc. Passengers are charged per minute for calling AirAsia to check on their booking or refund and etc. 

Whilst many critics in Malaysia are not convinced that MYCC will go the whole hawk in its investigation into the secret MAS-AirAsia share swap and Comprehensive Collaborative Framework (CCF), the brainchild of En Mohammed Rashdan Yusof aka Danny (Rashdan), the former business partner of Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar (Amok) when they were in BinaFikir Sdn Bhd. In 2008 BinaFikir Sdn Bhd was sold to Maybank Bhd for RM8 millionBy the way, Maybank Bhd is a GLC, which Khazanah Nasional Bhd (Khazanah) has a substantial share. Of course, co-incidentally Amok was and still is the Managing Director of Khazanah when the said RM8 million sale took place!

After a short span of time, Rashdan “left” BinaFikir Sdn Bhd. Amok waste no time but took his crony and former business partner, Rashdan, into Khazanah and placed him as the Executive Director of Investments of Khazanah.

After the said secret share swap was inked, Rashdan was put in charge of MAS until September when En Ahmad Jauhari Yahya took over as the Managing Director of MAS. Then we saw how Rashdan singlehandedly spent RM18 million to sponsor QPR home Jersey for 2 years  when MAS was BLEEDING” in , cancellations of full load Firefly flights during Raya season, termination of Firefly profitable routes from JB to Kota Kinabalu and Kuching. Incidentally, AirAsia is flying to these two destinations too.

Yours truly understands why the critics felt that way. Perhaps they have seen how the Security Commission (SC) and Bursa KL have been dragging its feet in its investigation into the said secret share swap.  However, yours truly is prepared to give MYCC, which is headed by YA Tan Sri Siti Norma Yaakob, former Chief Judge of Malaya, a chance to perform its national duty to safeguard the interests of all Malaysians.

Yours truly believes that after the suit has been filed by the ACCC in Australia for misleading pricing, which was a cause for concern in Malaysia, there will be more suits filed in other jurisdictions in UK, Japan, Korea and India. If ACCC were to win its suit in Australia against AirAsia, it will be extremely difficult for MYCC to give it a clean bill of health.

Parliament will be sitting in March, which is two months away. Yours truly will table questions on the investigations by MYCC, SC, Bursa KL and PAC on the said secret share swap and CCF and other related matters.

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