Last year YB Anthony Loke a.k.a “Captain Loke” was seen in an AirAsia’s aircraft to announce Chinese New Year greetings to the Sabahans on their ‘balik kampung’ trip. No other ministers in history had ever done this before and no present Minister could emulate him. He is the greatest Minister of all times. Unfortunately he chose to greet only passengers of AirAsia. We thought that it was just a one off thing. It was not.
As early as in December 2018, Captain Loke was already showing sign of his vision of wanting to become the “Minister of AirAsia”. Many thought that was not the case.
When the PSC for international travellers flying out from our airports was increased to RM73, AirAsia was the only airline that was unhappy with the said decision of MAVCOM. MAVCOM had done careful evaluations and plannings before arriving at the RM73 PSC. No airline in Malaysia and for that matter in the world, had ever opposed the implementation of the gazetted PSC of airports. One thing good about Captain Loke’s favourite airline, AirAsia, is that it only dare to protest against the increased in PSC in Malaysia but not in other foreign airports. In foreign airports AirAsia quietly accept all PSC rate, which are much higher than ours, and paid them on time too! What a good corporate citizen! In Malaysia it had protested the use of aerobridge but it happily used aerobridges in the overseas airports.
PSC are paid in advance by passengers and airline including AirAsia are the collecting agents for MAHB. However, AirAsia refused to collect the gazetted PSC of RM73 for passengers flying out from Malaysia airports. MAHB had instituted legal actions against AirAsia and AirAsias X to recover the outstanding PSC and other charges amounting to more than RM40 mil. Well, this was not the first time that AirAsia Group owed PSC and other charges to MAHB.
On 14 December 2018, Captain Loke had announced that he will mediate in the claims by MAHB against AirAsia, HERE. Captain Loke had no business to interfere by trying to “mediate” the outstanding PSC and other charges which were due and payable to MAHB. It is unheard of the Minister of Transport in other countries involved themselves in airline refusal to collect and pay up gazetted PSC. Captain Loke stands out against all ministers of other countries.
Ever since the implementation of the increased of PSC to RM73 year AirAsia had been screaming and demanding for the reduction of RM23 PSC but MAVCOM didn’t entertain their demand. When MAHB sued them for outstanding PSC and other charges amounting to more than RM40 million. AIrAsia demanded MAVCOM to to mediate in the so-called dispute, which MAVCOM had turned in down.
On or about 15 May 2019, AirAsia had the audacity to file an action in court for judicial review asking the High Court to order MAVCM to intervene to mediate in the said “dispute”, HERE. On 25 June 2019, the High Court had rightly dismissed the AirAsia action for judicial review, HERE. In the mean time Captain Loke’s great enthusiasm to “mediate” the so-called “dispute” had also fizzled out in thin air.
On 30 August 2019, the greatest Minister of Transport coincidentally made an announcement that the reduction of RM23 PSC for international flights from all airports in Malaysia , except KLIA. The said reduction will be effective on 1 October 2019, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE. It must be noted that Captain Loke’s said announcement was made without consulting MAVCOM, when he knew very well or he ought to have known that the power to impose or reduce or increase the rate of PSC lies exclusively with MAVCOM and not the Minister of Transport. The said powers have been enshrined in the MAVCOM Act. The legal advisors in Ministry of Transport knew about the MAVCOM Act and must have advised Captain Loke accordingly but due to his arrogance and great obsession for AirAsia that may have caused him to usurp the power of MAVCOM under the said Act.
After Captain Loke’s said ill-thought-out announcement, on 30 September 2019 AirAsia had announced that it will follow Captain Loke’s order on the reduction of RM23 PSC and that it will collect only RM50.00 PSC. No one was surprised by this announcement as the said reduction of RM23 in PSC was the exact sum that Tony Fernandes and/or AIrAsia had been campaigning for. Perhaps it was a mere coincident that the reduction of RM23 PSC was also the exact sum as demanded by AirAsia! Great men think alike! Captain Loke is the undisputed greatest Minister of Transport of all times.
However, 1st October came and gone, the reduction of RM23 PSC was not gazetted until this day. No other airlines followed Captain Loke’s order except AirAsia. Well, may be other airlines have been advised by their respective legal advisors that airline had to follow the law and collect the gazetted PSC, which is RM73. MAHB will have to collect the PSC as gazetted as that is the regulated PSC. All ticketing processes are controlled by IATA and IATA will not alter any changes on PSC without proof of the government gazette. Surely as from 1 October 2019, under the law all airlines were duty bound to collect the RM73 PSC from all international passengers departing from all airports in Malaysia until MAVCOM has gazetted a new rate.
It is without doubt that MAHB will collect from AirAsia Group the full RM73 PSC regardless of Captain Loke’s announcement and/or AirAsia had collected a lesser sum. MAHB will have to take legal actions to recover the outstanding PSC like what it did last year. On 18 July 2019 the High Court had ordered AirAsia to pay up RM40 million unpaid airport charges to MAHB, HERE!
The Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) had announced that starting June 1 2019, it is compulsory for all airlines in Malaysia to remove processing fee in accordance with the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC). The total fares must be shown from the very outset and not be added before the passengers make payment. On 5 August 2019, the excerpt of the report of The Edge, stated as follows:
“It has been airlines’ practice in the past where the price increases after selections are made due to additional charges which were not disclosed from the outset,” the regulator said.
As such, it may seem that AirAsia and AAX would be liable for contravening the MACPC as they will still be charging a processing fee on passengers until Sept 30.
Currently, AirAsia and AAX passengers have to pay a processing fee of RM4 for debit cards and as much as RM16 for paying with UnionPay. However, if a passenger opts to make payment using AirAsia’s e-wallet application BigPay, there is no processing fee involved.
In January, AirAsia also had to stop charging a RM3 fee on its passengers departing from klia2, after Mavcom made it illegal for airlines and airport operators to impose unnecessary charges on passengers under the enhanced consumer protection code. The fee was introduced on May 9, 2014, when the carrier moved its operations to klia2 from the former low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang. AirAsia had said the charge was imposed to offset the group’s cost of being compelled to use the terminal’s facilities such as aerobridges and the SITA check-in/boarding systems.
Based on Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) annual report for 2018, AirAsia Group carried 30.16 million domestic and international passengers at klia2. Assuming half of them were departing passengers, a back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that RM45.24 million was collected by AirAsia from the RM3 klia2 fee alone.
AirAsia did not disclose the amount it had collected through the processing fee or the RM3 klia2 fee in its 2018 annual report.
For full report of The Edge, please read HERE.
It would appear from the said Edge’s report that with a stroke of the pen, MAVCOM had immediately stopped AirAsia Group from making RM45.24 million (according to the above report by The Edge) which derived from its collection of the ridiculous “KLIA-2 Fees”, which no other airlines using KLIA-2 charged. More appropriately put, the consumers/travelling public have been saved the sum of RM45.24 million on “KLIA-2 Fees” alone. How about other “Processing Fees” imposed by AIrAsia Group? It should be more than RM45.24 million.
On 11 September 2019, MAVCOM had fined AirAsia and AirAsia X RM200,000.00 each for violating the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code 2016 (MACPC). Please read the full Malaysian Reserve Report, HERE.
Rumour has it that MAVCOM will be taking more serious action against unscrupulous airlines for violating the MACPC. Lets buy our pop corns and wait to see which airline will be fined in the near future or imposing hidden charges.
On April 2015 yours truly wrote an article in this blog entitled “Why Liow ( the former Minister of Transport) Encouraged AirAsia to owe RM50 million PSC/Airport Tax?” In the same article yours truly also accused of AirAsia charged its passengers with hidden charges like ‘RM3 KLIA-2 Fees’. AirAsia sued your truly for defamation in the High Court. The trial went on for several days. The Learned High Court Judge found that yours truly’s said article complained of “was true or substantially true” and ordered AirAsia to pay cost of RM50,000.00. Please read: “Now Everyone Can Know The Truth – Part 1” & “Now Everyone Can Know The Truth – Part 2”.
MAVCOM had already found AirAsia Group had violated the MACPC for imposing hidden charges including the “RM3 KLIA-2 Fees” and other processing fees and fined AirAsia and AirAsia X RM200,000.00 each. The said decision had now confirmed what yours truly had written about hidden charges was true and reinforced the said High Court decision. ‘Now Everyone Knew The Truth’ except the child like Captain Loke, who is still indulging in obsession and wilful blindness! What a curious habit for an adult and a minister at that.
The consumers must support the earnest efforts made by MAVCOM to protect consumer rights and interests from unscrupulous airlines that imposed hidden charges and exploited the consumers. Instead of Captain Loke applauded and encouraged the MAVCOM’s said actions to stop the said hidden charges, he went on a rampage to attack MAVCOM to the extend of abolishing it. Thanks God that MAVCOM was NOT under the purview of Ministry of Transport, so he could not at his whim and fancy abolished MAVCOM. MAVCOM was set up by an Act of Parliament, so it will not be so easy for Captain Loke to abolish it after all. He will have to introduce a Bill in Parliament, which is not that easy. It will take months. By which time many things may have happened and Captain Loke may not be around to do his nonsense no more. Lets pray that a new Minister of Transport be appointed to protect the consumers.
It is evident that throughout Captain Loke’s tenure in Ministry of Transport he has never spoke out against airlines which imposed hidden charges in their fare structures and/or for violating the MACPC.
All consumers must campaign against Captain Loke’s very ill-thought-out idea to abolish MAVCOM which decision was affront to consumer rights and interest. Surely it can not be part of the manifestos of the parties in the PH to abolish a body set up by Parliament to protect public interests.
A few days ago Captain Loke is true to form. He is in the lime light with AirAsia again. On 3 January 2020 he cannot wait to announce that his Ministry is working together with AirAsia to offer fixed rate tickets for Sabahans in KL flying back to Sandakan and Tawau before Chinese New Year. Why not Kota Kinabalu? He had also announced the same for AirAsia flights from KL to Kuching but not for Sabu and Miri. Why can the fixed rate be extended for those Malaysians flying from KL to all airports throughout Malaysia. Why is the Ministry of Transport practices discrimination?
Why is the Ministry of Transport not working together with other airlines like MAS, Firefly, Malindo and others? Why the discrimination and bias?
Why was there a need to abolish MAVCOM? Is Captain Loke is trying to help someone to fulfil his agenda by abolishing MAVCOM?
Captain Loke also asked Malaysians to wait until this today (7 January) for him to announce the so-called goodies or a.k.a. “The Captain Loke’s SPECIAL” – “the fixed rate fares”!
Malaysians are paying the monthly salaries and perks for Captain Loke. Why is Captain Loke is not looking after the interest of the consumers?
Captain Loke: You are only fit to be the “Minister of AirAsia” period!!!
P/s YM Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin‘s (the CEO of MAHB) abrupt’s departure is definitely a cause for our attention to follow the latest development in MAHB and/or the aviation industry. Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, the former COO, is now the new CEO. By coincident again that Dato Mohd Shukrie was formerly from AirAsia. Let observe the development, the movements from Khazanah, which its the main shareholder in MAHB. The abrupt resignation of Raja Azmi is a subject that deserves a separate posting. Lets hope that Raja Azmi had been given a good Golden Handshake, that he cannot refused!