March 17, 2006

Malaysian Airline Boss to Look at LIAT’s Management

Tony Fernandes, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Asia of Malaysia (the first and most profitable low cost carrier in that part of the world) at the request of Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves, will be visiting the Caribbean to look at issues connected with LIAT’s management, as well as to look into the possibility of investing in regional airlines. {{more}}

Prime Minister Gonsalves, CARICOM’s lead spokesman on Aviation, made the disclosure on Monday, March 13.

Dr. Gonsalves also mentioned that the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airports, Berhad (MAB) has agreed to work with St.Vincent and the Grenadines to put the management of the airports, including the international airport for Argyle, on the soundest professional footing. MAB is a state-owned entity in Malaysia, which runs all the many airports in Malaysia and is now extending to India.

Dr.Gonsalves, meanwhile, has used the opportunity to highlight other business links that he established while in Malaysia.

He disclosed that the Petra Group of Malaysia will be investing in hotel and tourism development in Union Island and Bequia.

The Petra Group will also set up a minimum of four regional offices to market St.Vincent and the Grenadines’ international financial services in Asia.

These offices, said Dr.Gonsalves, will be located in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

And St.Vincent and the Grenadines state-owned National Investment Promotions Incorporated (NIPI) will work closely with these centres for investment promotions, Dr.Gonsalves pointed out.

He said the centre at Kuala Lumpur will start immediately, closely followed by Singapore, and hopefully Dubai and Hong Kong by the end of 2006.

Other links were mentioned in the areas of tourism and property development, fishing, and information technology. Dr.Gonsalves said several companies in these areas from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have expressed a strong interest in investing in St.Vincent and the Grenadines and in using it as a base for regional investment in the light of CSME.

Elaborating on the newly established business links, Dr.Gonsalves noted that real possibilities exist for a regional project involving the Petra Group, Malaysia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, and other regional governments to pursue the development of a Jethropa biodiesel/Palm Oil Project.