Tony Fernandes: No phantoms on AirAsia flights

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BY CLARA CHOOI
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Tan Sri Tony Fernandes officially dispelled allegations today that his budget airline AirAsia has been ferrying in foreigners to vote in today’s polls, saying on his Twitter page here that he had personally checked the manifests.

The AirAsia CEO explained that the carrier had four chartered flights carrying 478 passengers from Johor Baru to Kota Kinabalu but all were Malaysian citizens voting in Sabah.

“Every person who came on the flight was a malaysian mostly sabahans living in JB. MY STAFF said mostly families.

“From visible check as well all were malaysians. I repeat 478 all malaysians. NO Foreigners. No naturalised foreigners,” he wrote using the Twitter handle @tonyfernandes.

Related story: EC: Close to 60pc have voted

He said AirAsia and AirAsia X had reduced fares and increased flights to allow more voters to return to their hometowns to vote in what can best be described as a nail-biting race to the finish.

“No one has helped the democratic process more than us,” he said.

To a suggestion from Twitter user @esKahn that electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 and official representatives from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) be allowed to verify his claims, Fernandes said it would not be a problem.

“No issue at all. Ambiga can come herself,” he said, referring to Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

MORE TO COME

Related story: Najib denies BN link to phantom voter claims
Related story: PKR foils dubious voter in Pandan, report lodged

The polls have closed in Malaysia and the counting begun. The general election has been the most closely fought in the country’s history with the possibility that voters could put an end to a ... more 
The polls have closed in Malaysia and the counting begun. The general election has been the most closely fought in the country’s history with the possibility that voters could put an end to a run of 56 years in power for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. Despite trying to win over a growing middle class with social reforms, Prime Minister Najib Razak has come up against a momentum for change especially among young Malaysians. The three-party Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim has pledged to clean up politics – it wants to break down a network of race-based patronage that has grown up over the past few decades. As the polls closed there were tales of suspected fraud allegedly carried out by the ruling coalition. Witnesses claimed that indelible ink could be easily washed off enabling some to cast ballots twice. Results electing the 222 seat parliament will begin to trickle in over the next few hours. less 
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Sun, May 5, 2013 9:04 PM MYT

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