This is not an advertisement.I'm doing a separate posting on Tony Fernandes because:
1) he's responding to my article dated 25/12/08, Air Asia pulls out of F1?
2) he's got a lovely message for my readers and for Malaysians: Be Brave (and don't hide behind Anonymous)
Tony and I go back a long way. You may not guess it reading some of my earlier postings on the Air Asia and its boss on this blog, but when Air Asia was new the Malay Mail, which I was editing, took a rather special interest in it. Air Asia was the underdog. It was so small that at one time I was asking some of my contacts, among the corporate bigwigs if they would be interested in a stake in Air Asia.
One tycoon - a Malay in the shipping industry - was cautiously interested but they never got to meet, as far as I know.
It never crossed my mind to use my position in the newspaper to get some shares in Air Asia (or any other companies, for that matter). I suppose that's what happens when you have journalists instead of businessmen as newspaper editors! Ehem.
I would like to echo Tony's message - Be Brave Malaysians. Let's change the nation for the better in 2009.
If you haven't read it, here's Tony's response to my posting:-Hi, All readers of Rocky's Bru especially the anonymous ones. Yes, we are considering pulling out of F1. In three years we have built a brand that is bigger than most brands in Asia (please refer to Top Brands). So we are looking at pulling out. We have achieved what we want.
It's a shame that the majority of you would like us to fail despite us carrying 60 million people who never flew before and us giving employment to 6,000 people.
It is tiring trying to defend ourselves, we have done so much for the country and only recently after 7 years are we beginning to finally get a level playing field . If we were so strong, why did it take us 7 years to get KL Singapore, why have I still not got Penang-Singapore and other routes?
On MAB, we have made it very clear that we are being overcharged. We have compromised on prior charges re budget terminal but we will be going into dispute on after the budget terminal . How on earth can anyone say we should be charged the same as the main terminal where the facilities are much better? We owe MAB nothing, they owe us.
On local sports, we have sponsored table tennis, football and individual athletes. But if we are to build a global brand we have to be on global properties.
As for (commenter) ex banker we have never asked for a merger with MAS and we have never got a handout or any bailouts. Please let the readers know what handouts we have received. If we were not good at what we did how have we defeated Tiger, Jetstar etc? How have we gone from 2 planes to 75, and carry 20 million guests? And as for going out of business, your note contradicts yourself. Why would I be buying back the company if it's going bust? Come on, ex banker, if we are going bust why buy the company back?
As for unions, no one in Air Asia has ever come to me to start a union because there is no need. We are one family. Our staff turnover is very low . If we were bad at looking after our staff there would be a union and staff would be leaving. We cant stop the formation of a union. Please read the law.
I am not hiding and am willing to answer any questions. Negativity will be the end of Malaysia. I have said it in my blog and I say it again. We all have to change, we have to work together, change what is wrong and make Malaysia a better place. When you see a company that has obviously made Malaysia a better place and some of the comments I read it saddens me. I have a wonderful 6000 staff strength who have done Malaysia proud and we have struggled all the way.
Nothing has come easy for us. Just ask the owner of this blog Rocky who knows me very very well. I am not hiding behind anonymous I am answering myself and am happy to meet anyone .
I have a blog, everyone contacts me on email , mobile and when I am working around the office. I am even on Facebook. I do hundreds of speeches to school kids ad universities to try and motivate them. We have developed boys who carried bags into pilots. And we have built a Malaysian company. Not a Malay, Chinese or Indian company. A Malaysian company that has been successful because of the fact we are Malaysian.
So to another anonymous, I am Malaysian not an Indian fella. I was born here, have a Malaysian passport and a Blue IC. And I'm proud to be Malaysian. I don't imagine I will change any of you but Malaysia needs change and running down a company that has done so much for Malaysia is odd. Isn't Malaysia better for having Airasia? If you really want to know me come and see me and I will answer all your questions.
Rocky, as mentioned to you, I'm free anytime to do an interview and your readers can pose all the questions. But be brave Malaysians and don't hide under anonymous .
Thank you for reading. Wishing all of you a Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year.
The Malaysian Tony from Air Asia