Months after leaving Facebook, one of Malaysia’s most-admired men is officially off Twitter, and many of his 1.3 million followers are already missing him.
In a final tweet on Sunday (Jan 12), AirAsia boss Tony Fernandes said he was shutting down his account due to the platform having “too much negativity and falsehood and anger”.
“Feel much better now (I’m) not on Facebook and am sure (it) will be even better without Twitter. Social media has become an angry place,” he said.
OK: @TonyFernandes has now left the building – His final tweet (or at least last that I saw) (although I'm still of the belief that Tony Fernandes will return) @QPR @AIrAsia #QPR pic.twitter.com/3IJq8Q9kSt
— QPR REPORT (@QPRReport) January 12, 2020
Fernandes’ account is now empty, with all his Tweets deleted. According to The Star, he closed his Facebook account last March, citing live videos of the New Zealand mosque shootings as a trigger.
This leaves Instagram and LinkedIn as his last active social media accounts.
Some netizens felt the millionaire’s latest withdrawal from social media was “good riddance”, while others said they understood his sentiments and would miss him.
Great. Now Tony Fernandes is off twitter. Thank you "netizens" . This is why we can't have nice things
— Qamaruz Affandy (@qamaruz) January 13, 2020
I think Tony Fernandes is right. Social media is becoming too toxic.. and that includes Twitter. Perhaps I should go dark here as well 😶
— B4H4 B1D4R1 (@B4H4B1D4R1) January 12, 2020
sorry to see you go. Enjoyed your tweets. However, you are right. Twitter is too negative
— Ron Blok (@Ronbl225) January 12, 2020
Business Insider rounded up 3 of Fernandes’ most memorable tweets of 2019 in farewell to the airline mogul:
#1: That time he complained about a massive bee swarm in KLIA2
In January last year, Fernandes shared a photo of a massive bee swarm congregating on the edge of a window at a bay in Kuala Lumpur Airport.
“Now we have bees in KLIA2. We got maggots, rats and now bees. Maybe a zoo or KLIA2 honey. Could be new income which could reduce airport tax. Jokes aside, this is dangerous for my passengers and my staff. Will the non-communicative new CEO solve this?” he tweeted.
The photo prompted the airport to fumigate the bee swarm a day later, and issue a response saying the bees were only migrating through.
Fernandes’ tweet was the latest in a series of heated criticisms of Malaysia Airports, with the CEO airing his unhappiness at KLIA2 for increasing airport fees despite running what he claimed were poorly-maintained facilities.
AirAsia subsequently refused to collect airports fee from passengers, resulting in a lawsuit between the budget carrier and Malaysia’s Aviation Commission.
“I reiterate: for 18 years, we have battled for our passengers in Malaysia… We have always asked for simple facilities with low airport tax,” Fernandes tweeted on a separate occasion.
“All we have ever asked is for Malaysia Airports to understand our model and help us… We are a low-cost carrier, its largest customer yet.”
#2: His teaser photo of a new restaurant selling AirAsia’s in-flight food
In December last year, AirAsia made the news after becoming the first airline in the world to open a fast food restaurant selling in-flight fare on land.
Fernandes kicked off the attention by tweeting a photo of the soon-to-open Santan restaurant in Kuala Lumpur’s Mid Valley Megamall. According to Malay Mail, Santan is the name of AirAsia’s in-flight menu concept.
“It’s real. The first Santan restaurant is opening in December in Mid Valley. Wow – dreams come true.” Fernandes said. “Who would have thought: airline food to restaurant? Franchises available soon. Your chance to own ASEAN’s first fast food restaurant.”
Business Insider previously reported that the restaurant – which is now open – serves nasi lemak, nasi padang, beef rendang, nyonya curry laksa, fried chicken and satay, with AirAsia’s in-flight items comprising a third of the menu.
#3: When he announced he was stepping down to make way for younger staff
- Business Insider/Jessica Lin
In September, the AirAsia boss stunned netizens after he tweeted that he was giving up all his board positions – except those in AirAsia Group and AirAsia X – to move “the next generation of AirAsia leaders into the forefront”.
“For clarity: I will remain CEO of AirAsia group and CEO of AirAsia.com… (the) rest of my positions in the boards and management will go to my young amazing leaders. So so many of them. Leadership is about succession planning, always giving youth a chance,” he said.
Fernandes’ retirement was also the subject of online rumours in 2017 and 2018, but the businessman brushed them off both times.
“Laughable that there is a rumour I’m retiring. My announcement is (an) exciting one that charts our future of AirAsia… so not going anywhere,” he tweeted in December 2017.
In March 2018, the CEO again used Twitter to debunk a viral, doctored photo of a CNN report announcing his retirement, which he said was a hoax.
“This is the best fake news,” Fernandes said. “The reality is: (long) way to go before I leave AirAsia.”