During the recent concluded defamation trial Ms Vijaya Priya A/P Ananthan, the AirAsia Bhd’s (AirAsia) Government Relation Officer, had testified in the AirAsia’s defamation suit against yours truly that when MPs submitted questions concerning AirAsia in Parliament, AirAsia will be consulted by the Ministry of Transport and AirAsia will prepare answers for the Ministry to reply in Parliament.
For the record, of course Ms Vijaya Priya denied that AirAsia owed any passenger service charge (PSC) also known as Airport Tax to MAHB. She must be given a badge of honour for steadfastly in the denial syndrome mode when testifying. A job well done!. She should be promoted because she is on the same page with her superior.
All airlines are collecting the PSC on behalf of the airport operators. In this case and in Malaysia is MAHB. The status of the airline is a collecting agent and in a position of trust. The collected PSC from passengers, who have completed their flights, lawfully belongs to MAHB.
Airlines being the collecting agents for the airport operators have no reason to owe or withhold any PSC, when it is due and payable, from airport operators unless they are unable to meet their financial commitments for reasons best known to them. It must be noted that all PSC is fully paid in advance by passengers upon the issuance the flight ticket.
The Glaring Evidence During The Said Defamation Trial
AirAsia is contractually bound to pay over all PSC collected to MAHB within 30 days from the date of invoice. Overdue payment after the said 30 days, MAHB will impose late Payment Charges of 1% from the date of invoice.
The MAHB’s Senior Manager (Finance), Puan Zulriani Binti Zahari, had testified in court that at the material time AirAsia Bhd and its group of companies or related companies had owed PSC to MAHB and MAHB had imposed Late Payment Charges on AirAsia Bhd, AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia, Zest Airways (Zest AirAsia) and PT Indonesia AirAsia for late payment of PSC and they were as follows:
In 2009, RM 92,551.71;
In 2010, RM 463, 526.01;
In 2011, RM 373, 328.17; as of 30 November 2011, the late payment charges accrued was RM 194, 782.17;
In 2013, RM 25, 879.98;
In 2014, RM 604, 236.65
AirAsia X Bhd
In 2009, RM 40, 513.75;
In 2010, RM 98, 886.25;
In 2014, RM 120, 084.48;
She had also testified that MAHB had also imposed Late Payment Charges of 1% against Thai AirAsia Limited, Zest Airways (AirAsia Zest), as follows:
In 2009, RM 35, 784.70;
In 2010, RM155, 135.00;
In 2011, RM 105, 766.49;
In 2012, RM 1, 823.33.
Zest Airways (AirAsia Zest)
In 2013, RM 3, 051.49;
In 2014, RM 24, 078.65;
Between 1 January 2015 and 20 April 2015, the amount of late Payment charges that had accrued was RM 22,550.14.
PT Indonesia AirAsia
In 2009, RM 192, 837.76;
In 2010, RM 291, 839.01;
In 2011, RM 44, 424.35;
In 2012, RM 6, 446.38;
In 2014, RM 13, 299.42;
For the period between 1 January 2015 and 20 April 2015, RM 15, 644.66.
Just imagine a mere 1% Late Payment Charges imposed by MAHB, the Late Payment charges amounted to as high as RM 604, 236.65 for AirAsia in 2014 and RM 120, 084.48 for AirAsia X in 2014, RM 120, 084.48 for Thai AirAsia in 2010, RM 24, 078.65 for Zest Airways (AirAsia Zest) in 2014 and RM 291, 839.01 for PT Indonesia in 2010.
During the trial AirAsia did not directly challenge the testimonies of the said MAHB’s Senior Manager, Finance, on the PSC debts owed and late Payment Charges imposed by MAHB against AirAsia, AirAsia X, Thai AirAsia, Zest Airways (AirAsia Zest) and PT Indonesia AirAsia. It was obvious that it could not challenge the facts and figures because they were true or substantially true as found by the learned High Court Judge.
In the AirAsia Statement of Claim, it had the audacity to claim that on 20.4.2015 yours truly had falsely and maliciously published the article entitled “Why Liow & MAHB encouraged AirAsia to owe RM50 million PSC/Airport Tax?”, in HERE.
When AirAsia filed the said defamation suit, Encik Amir Faesal Zakari, Head of Legal Department, had been quoted to have said:
“The many misleading and defamatory statements published by Wee are intended to mislead the public and damage our reputation.” AirAsia filed a suit because our reputation has been damaged by this conduct despite efforts to correct the misinformation published about AirAsia.”
Yours truly is wondering which law school En Amir Faesal Zakaria went to for him to come out with such embarrassing statement. May be he was on a wilful blindness trip when he made that statement. Now it has been proven that this so-called legal expert, En Amir Faesal Zakaria, had made the above false statement with the clear intention to mislead members of the public.
Had En Amir Faesal consulted its Group Finance Officer, Mr Shin Kok Leong, about the PSC debt, he would have known the real facts and wouldn’t have made that stupid statement. May be he was influenced by his environment to make that irresponsible statement with the hope to protect the image of AirAsia at all costs. What a stupid act for a professional!
By the way during the trial, this En Amir Faesal Zakaria, did not show up in court to support the AirAsia team of officers. May be deep down in his heart, he knew the outcome of the trial because the truth will always prevail.
On 6 March, 2018, the learned High Court Judge, Justice Datuk Su Geok Yam, had found the allegations in the said article was true or substantially true, in HERE.
In future, readers should be mindful and cautious when reading any statement from AirAsia or any of its officers.
Stay tuned for Part 3.