SEPANG, May 14 — Low-cost airline AirAsia did not breach its own code of ethics during a controversial Barisan Nasional (BN) themed flight last week, its group chief executive Tan Sri Tony Fernandes told its shareholders today.
Following the controversy over the flight which was decked in blue and carried former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and the subsequent video of Fernandes praising Najib just days before the polls, the entrepreneur took time to address the issue in the company’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) today.
“There was no breach of code of ethics with the uniforms of the cabin crew. They walked into the place wearing red and walked out wearing red,” Tony said, referring to claims that the blue uniforms worn by cabin crew during the flight were against the company’s own policy.
“In fact there was a request for everyone in that flight to wear blue, but we didn’t,” Tony said.
Yesterday, Tony apologised to Malaysians in a video for the BN-themed flight and the video of him backing Najib, saying that the two events were the result of alleged consistent pressure placed on him and AirAsia by authorities and individuals from Prime Minister’s Office.
Fernandes reiterated his apology to his shareholders following the EGM, but did not go into further details about the flight carrying Najib, saying that further information regarding the events that has happened would be revealed at “the right time”.
“We stand accountable for what has happened. We did what we think was right at the time for the benefit of the employees and shareholders,” he said.
Yesterday, Tony said that he had come under increasing pressure for refusing to remove Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz from the board of AirAsia X, an AirAsia subsidiary, even though she was campaigning for Pakatan Harapan (PH), and also for adding 120 flights to accommodate voters for the 14th general elections.
The elections, which saw a 82.32 per cent turnout despite being held on a Wednesday, saw BN lose federal power for the first time in Malaysia’s history, losing to Pakatan Harapan led by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Fernandes addressed the issue after the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group sought to clarify the controversy with the board of directors.
“Hopefully this is the last time something like this will happen,” he added.
His brief response on the issue was met with applause from those who attended the EGM, which discussed the airline’s proposed disposal of aircraft leasing operations.