PETALING JAYA: AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (pix) has hit back at DAP's Datuk Zaid Ibrahim for criticising the AirAsia X flight D7237 pilot who had asked his passengers to pray for their safety.
"What is wrong with asking for prayers in whatever religion when you are in a tight position, seeking divine intervention while doing whatever humanely possible?" Kamarudin asked.
"Making statements is always easy when you are safely on the ground," he said.
In a post on his Facebook page on Tuesday, Kamarudin said he would have done the same thing.
"As a believer, he (the pilot) asked everyone to pray with him as he guided the plane to safety. I would have done the same thing," he said.
He praised the pilot for being calm and in control in ensuring the safety of all those on board, and added that he stands by the pilot and his team for their decisions.
On Monday, Zaid criticised the pilot in a series of tweets saying that it was irresponsible for the pilot to urge to passengers to pray while the plane experienced distressing technical difficulties.
In a separate statement, MIC treasurer-general Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari called Zaid's statement "irresponsible and unbecoming".
"I find it amusing that Zaid Ibrahim has made an issue out of this incident when the focus should be on congratulating the AirAsia X pilot and his crew for bringing all the passengers of flight D7237 home safely," he said.
The low-cost carrier flight with 359 people onboard was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Perth on Sunday but had to return to the Perth Airport an-hour-and-a-half later due to a technical issue.
Passengers had reported saying that the Airbus A330 was "shaking like a washing machine".
The flight landed safely at 10am (Perth time), about three hours after its departure.AirAsia X has said it is conducting an investigation into the cause of the "technical issue" together with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce.