Loke distances himself from AirAsia-Mavcom spat

KUALA LUMPUR: Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook today distanced himself from the spat between AirAsia Bhd group CEO Tony Fernandes and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) following the former’s claim that the independent body had failed the country’s aviation sector.

“That is AirAsia’s opinion. I have no comment,” Loke told reporters after officiating the World Maritime Week at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.

Fernandes yesterday gave seven reasons to back his claim that Mavcom had failed the aviation sector, including what he called the introduction of bureaucratic policies.

He said Mavcom had failed to execute its duties fairly and effectively, and that its functions could be assumed by other bodies including the transport ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia.

Mavcom was established on March 1, 2016 under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 to regulate economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Loke also maintained that the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project had been reviewed to ensure lower costs and that it would benefit the relevant states.

“We have re-looked and reviewed the ECRL. The cost has been cut down and the commitment is there, the agreement was signed.

“That whole approach is meant to maximise ECRL to the benefit of all the states in the north,” he said.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had called for a review of the project following the claim by a witness in Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial last week that the ECRL was mooted to bail out the debt-ridden company.

However, Loke said he had no knowledge of Anwar’s comments on the matter.