Short-lived joy for AirAsia?

CASH-strapped AirAsia Group Bhd has found itself in a quandary after the new Sabah state government has called on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the financial transaction involving the RM300 mil ‘lifeline’ loan it secured from the Sabah Development Bank Bhd (SDB).

The Daily Express reported that the loan was approved during the previous Warisan-led government on July 2 by the Sabah Development Bank (SDB) but was “hurriedly disbursed” a few days after Gabungan Rakyat Sabah won the state election and took over. 

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Md Noor who was sworn in on Sept 29, has called for an independent forensic audit into SDB’s action as well as for the MACC to step in, Daily Express said.

In a Bursa Malaysia filing to clarify the content of an article published in StarBiz on Oct 23, AirAsia confirmed that the RM300 mil loan from SDB has been approved and disbursed to the budget airline as part of a fund raising exercise.

A breakdown of proceeds from the RM300 mil loan is as follows:

  • RM170 mil to establish and operate OURFARM digital food supply chain and cold chain facilities in Sabah;
  • RM110 mil to part-finance the project to turn Kota Kinabalu International Airport into an international hub for AirAsia Bhd’s operations;
  • RM10 mil to enhance e-commerce platforms and marketability of Sabah products; and
  • RM10 mil to further promote Sabah tourism destinations on, the digital super app of AirAsia.

“This loan is in line with AirAsia’s pivot into the digital business,” elaborated AirAsia in the Bursa filing.

“The main purpose of the loan is to enhance logistics in Sabah by increasing its supply chain and connectivity, creating over 100,000 new jobs in the process.” – Oct 28, 2020

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