EPF concerned about AirAsia and MAHB spat

AirAsia planes seen here on the KLIA tarmac. – Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has expressed its concerns over the feud between AirAsia Group Bhd and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which it deemed to be damaging to both companies and Malaysia.

Just like any investor, EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said the fund was very concerned about the spat which has become very public.

Confirming that it had sent out letters to both companies stating its concern, he added that the EPF was in no position to arbitrate in their dispute.

The EPF is a major shareholder of both companies. It owns a 10.81% stake in MAHB, making it the second-largest shareholder. It is also the third-largest shareholder in AirAsia with an ownership of 5.64%.

“This is not only bad for the two organisations but also for Malaysia as a whole. These are the two biggest counters and also the face of Malaysia.

“AirAsia as an airline, brings in tourists and business people. MAHB, which is (operating) KLIA, is the first point of contact for any foreigners coming to Malaysia,” Alizakri said, adding that the EPF hoped that both companies would be able to resolve their differences soon.

Alizakri was speaking at a media briefing on the EPF’s 2018 dividend and performance here yesterday. He also revealed that AirAsia would meet the EPF very soon to explain the situation.

“We’re very happy with that. We are also awaiting MAHB’s response. Looking forward to meeting up with them,” he said.

Asked if the spat impacted the EPF’s income, Alizakri said it is not directly impacted by it, but is affected by the counters’ market performance.

MAHB filed a lawsuit against AirAsia and AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) in December last year over uncollected passenger service charges of RM36mil.

In its counterclaims against MAHB, the budget airline sought more than RM400mil over losses and damages experienced by AirAsia and AAX due to alleged operation disruptions at KLIA2.

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