The Ministry of International Trade and Industry has confirmed that two new licenses were approved, joining MAS, AirAsia, Firefly, and Malindo, among others, as commercial airline operators. Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the move was to promote healthy competition as well as to help the aviation industry recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Obviously, travel and tourism were some of the most badly hit sectors of the economy following the spread of the virus which resulted in nationwide lockdowns across the world. In early 2022, we’re only starting to see long-range, cross border air travel return to normalcy, though this is still contingent on specific agreements between governments and is subject to change.
Open borders, in the true sense of the term, is still potentially some ways off. However, due to the sentiment of caution seen in many tourists caused by the spread of the Omicron variant, he added that the capacity of passengers are likely to remain low in the short to medium term.
As far as the new airlines are concerned, the approval was given to SKS Airways and MYAirline Sdn Bhd with the former being owned by the Johor-based SKS Group with funding from businessman Alan Sim See Kiong. Rather than compete with the big boys from the outset, SKS aircraft will run flights using twin prop passenger aircraft between Subang to Pulau Pangkor, Tioman, and Redang with additional niche domestic routes potentially on the horizon.
MYAirline, however, is a new player in the ultra-low-cost-carrier (ULCC) category and have been granted a license to fly passengers and cargo services like Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia. Owned jointly by Zillion Wealth, Trillion Cove Holdings, and Rayner Teo Kheng Kock, the fledging airline is also funded by Datuk Goh Hwan Hua.
Apart from its financial struts, its leadership team comprise of industry veterans from AirAsia, Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd, the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia.
Their plans seem much more ambitious than that of SKS, and as such we don’t quite know what their routes will be or how they intend be competitive/differentiated against established rivals.
Who are the people behind MYAirline?
Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) data showed that its director and businessman Datuk Allan Goh Hwan Hua is the airline’s single largest shareholder.
SSM data previously showed that international trade consultant Zillion Wealth Bhd has an 88% equity interest in MYAirline and Trillion Cove Holdings Bhd, a money lending and financing company, a 10% stake. Both Zillion Wealth and Trillion Cove named Goh as a director of the companies.
The airline’s former chief executive officer (CEO) Rayner Teo Kheng Hock, meanwhile, had owned the remaining 2% of the airline’s shares.
It is worth noting that in May this year, Trillion Cove was involved in a money laundering case where former Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Mohamad Madani Sahari was charged with 12 counts of money laundering totalling RM1.038 million at the Alor Setar Sessions Court in Kedah. Madani has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
For the first 10 charges, Madani was reportedly charged with indirectly engaging in transactions involving proceeds of unlawful activities through his lawyers, Norizan & Associates’s Hong Leong Islamic Bank account, amounting to RM1 million.
As for the remaining charges, Madani was accused of receiving fees through illegal transactions amounting to RM19,000 from Trillion Cove, on each charge, accrued from the purchase of RM1 million worth of Redeemable Preference Shares-i.
Meanwhile, Goh is also linked to payment gateway company i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd, one of seven companies that were compounded a total of RM50 million by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) last month, for accepting deposits without a licence. BNM had said that its investigation revealed that between June 2018 and September 2021, the seven entities had accepted deposits from the public and had consequentially engaged directly in transactions that involved proceeds of such illegal deposit-taking activities.
SSM data revealed that Goh held a 31.75% stake in i-Serve Online Mall as at Sept 13, 2023. The other three shareholders were Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khairi Aseh (31.75%), QA Advance Partnership PLT (20.63%) and Bong Soon Heng (15.87%).
Shareholding changes at MYAirline
Latest records as at Aug 30, 2023 from SSM found that MYAirline now has 15 shareholders, following the issuance of 48 million preference shares.
The number of ordinary shares had also been increased to 32 million from 2 million previously.
The additional 30 million ordinary shares were allotted to Zillion Wealth, bringing its shareholding in MYAirline to 99.25% or 31.76 million shares from 88% or 1.76 million shares previously. Consequently, Trillion Cove’s stake had been reduced to 0.625% from 10%, even though the number of ordinary shares it owned remain at 200,000. Goh also holds 750,000 preference shares in MYAirline.
Likewise, Teo’s shareholding is now down to 0.125% from 2%, with a total of 40,000 ordinary shares.
The other shareholders allocated preference shares included Lee Siew Hock, Nawal Aeida Asarudin, DAG Express Sdn Bhd, Jalex Sdn Bhd, Ling Ai Lee and Kek Kim Long.
It is worth noting that as at Oct 10, 2023, Zillion Wealth is equally owned by Goh’s wife Datin Neow Ean Lee and their son Sean Goh Tze Han, who is a board member of MYAirline. Over at Trillion Cove, Goh owned a 99% stake or 1.98 million ordinary shares, while Florence Anak Juan has an 1% stake or 19,990 ordinary shares in the company, SSM filing showed.
On Sunday (Oct 8), MYAirline announced that it was “in advanced stages of finalising strategic partnerships” amid talks at the time that the carrier was already facing a financial crunch.
On Thursday, Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), which regulates economic and commercial matters relating to civil aviation, said it is currently investigating the airline based on internal reviews and complaints received regarding the airline’s unpaid statutory payments to its employees, among others.
Source : The Edge
Financial backer linked to i-Serve Online Mall
According to sources, Goh is believed to be the financial backer of the new airline venture. He is listed on SSM as the shareholder of both Zillion Wealth and Trillion Cove, bringing his stake in MYAirline to 98%.
Trillion Cove’s website also showed that Goh, who is the chief executive officer and director of the company, has a background in audit and corporate finance, and that he is an entrepreneur who has founded and built companies in the e-commerce, online business, e-ticketing, fintech, retail and tourism space.
Goh is also a 31.75% shareholder in i-Serve Online Mall Sdn Bhd, according to SSM filings.
It was reported last November that 22 premises linked to i-Serve Online Mall and its related affiliates across Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were raided by the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) as the lead agency, along with the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), Companies Commission of Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) and CyberSecurity Malaysia.
The joint enforcement action resulted in the freezing of 45 bank accounts in seven banks and seizing of cash totalling RM118.7 million by the authorities, according to a statement dated Nov 15 on BNM’s website. The central bank also said the action taken against i-Serve Online Mall were due to suspicion of committing various offences, including under the Financial Services Act 2013 (FSA) and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA).
Subsequently, i-Serve Online Mall issued a statement via its lawyers three days later to request that BNM clarify its “vague and factually incorrect” statements. It contended that the statements made by BNM might mislead the public regarding the nature of the enforcement action taken against the company and its affiliates, and that the statements had severely damaged their reputations.
A spokesperson from i-Serve Online Mall, when contacted by The Edge, also refuted the cash seizure of RM118.7 million, saying that was “totally false”.
“No cash was seized from the premises of the companies. The alleged amount that was referred to was in the accounts of various companies’ bank accounts that were frozen. The companies have not been served with any seizure notices. BNM as the regulatory authority should know the distinction that freezing is not seizure under AMLA,” he said.
“We have given full co-operation to BNM and are trying to work things out so that the damage caused will not be irreparable. We only hope for fair treatment and justice according to law. In this post-pandemic economic recovery environment, enforcement agencies should not act in a manner that will cripple or kill businesses,” he added.
On its website, the company describes itself as having started out in 2001 by providing smart card solutions and software development, before progressing to create kiosks for big names such as Eastman Kodak, Nokia, as well as AirAsia. It also says it has developed numerous mobile apps for conveniences such as bill payment and prepaid reloads, before setting foot in the financial technology industry.
Jothi, meanwhile, has a background in information technology (IT) and serves as a director of Trillion Cove.
Apart from Goh and Jothi, the three other MYAirline directors — Abd Hamid, Azharuddin and Teo — are aviation industry veterans.
Abd Hamid was previously the chief operating officer of Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd between 1992 and 2016. Azharuddin was formerly the director-general of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department (DCA) and former chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) between 2008 to 2018. Teo was previously AirAsia’s group head of sales and distribution between 2004 to 2020.
Source : The Edge
Source : Astro Awani