KUALA LUMPUR – AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes apologized on Sunday for endorsing Najib Razak ahead of Malaysia’s general election, saying he had done so to appease the office of the then prime minister who eventually lost his bid for another term.
Najib was ousted by former leader Mahathir Mohamad in a shock election result last week. Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition, which had governed Malaysia since independence in 1957, was booted out of power for the first time.
AirAsia has several airlines in various Asian countries but Malaysia, its home market, is its largest contributor to earnings. In a highly regulated industry where its main rival is state-owned Malaysia Airlines, it relies on government approvals to support its growth plans.