“AMOUNT OWED TO MAHB SETTLED” so say Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, the AirAsia Group chief executive officer. (See page 39 NST, 29 August 2008)
I am really glad to read such good news for the country that AirAsia has settled its debts with Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB).
Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes has been quoted to have said “We have reached an amicable resolution with MAHB. We have paid the agreed settlement amount to MAHB and accordingly taken credit for the disputed cost items ruled in our favour. ”
Unfortunately, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes chose not to disclose the so-called settlement sum. Quite frankly, I don’t understand the secrecy of the so-called settlement sum after all the Minister of Transport had already told Parliament that AirAsia owed MAHB RM110.36 million since 2002.
Below is the question I posed to Parliament for the Minister of Finance to answer with regard to AirAsia’s debts to MAHB.
Tuan Wee Choo Keong [Wangsa Maju] to ask the YB Minister of Finance to state why the Ministry did not instruct MAHB to take legal actions against AirAsia for not paying its debts totaling RM110 million, which includes Airport Taxes that have been collected from the passengers, and why MAHB did not stop AirAsia from using the LCCT until full payment of Airport Taxes are made like what MAHB did to Pelangi Air previously.
I am still waiting for a reply, which will be forthcoming in October 2008.
It was most surprising that the Minister of Finance had to involve itself in a private debts between a listed company (AirAsia) and MAHB, a GLC. If this is the practice, then the Minister of Finance should start to involve himself to settle income tax disputes between Jabatan Hasil Dalam Negeri and individuals. This will be a good start for the Minister of Finance. I would like to advise all those who owed Income tax or other taxes to refer to the Minister of Finance II to settle the dispute.
I am very certain that the sum owed by AirAsia to MAHB comprised mainly of Airport Taxes and not service charges as claimed. MAHB does not provide services as such. There is another company, which is providing all the services. The question should be asked how could AirAsia owe such a big sum of Airport Taxes, which it has already collected from the passengers.
AirAsia can sign whatever secrecy agreement with Tan Sri Nor Yakop, the Minister of Finance II. I shall pursue this when Parliament sits from 13th October 2008.