Tony Fernandes bags 4th Pillar Award for US-Asean ties, growth contribution
Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, co-founder and group chief executive officer of AirAsia Bhd, has been awarded the Fourth Pillar Award by the United States (US)-Asean Business Council for his extraordinary contribution towards the growth of Asean and the US-Asean relationship.
February 19, 2016
This makes Fernandes the second recipient after US President Barack Obama.
The Fourth Pillar Award is presented to a person or organisation representing the "fourth pillar", that is, a person that has made an extraordinary contribution towards the growth of Asean as well as fostering better US-Asean relationship, effectively making the foundation of Asean stronger through their focus and involvement.
The award was presented at the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Conference 2016 dinner reception held in San Francisco, the US, on Wednesday, with key business leaders and government officials from across Asean and the US in attendance.
The Asean charter speaks to a community comprising three pillars: political security, economic and socio-cultural.
"The theme of this conference, 'Asia's Best Kept Secret: The AEC' says it all. Asean is a dream and if we put the Asean people first, who knows what we can achieve," Fernandes, who is also a member of the Asean Business Club Advisory Council, said in a statement today.
"When you combine all 10 member countries into a single market and production base, you are tapping into a community of over 600 million people.
"The potential this region holds is immense, and as a truly Asean brand, we will continue to lobby and spearhead Asean integration, especially but not limited to the aviation, travel and tourism industries," he added.
Fernandes also pointed out that it is time for Asean to take a bold step towards commonality and standardisation.
"There is an urgent need of one Asean regulator to ensure a unified Asean standard.
"The current process of relying on consensus that requires approval from all 10 countries should be reviewed so important initiatives move forward," he said.
The AirAsia Group, led by Fernandes and his partner Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, has grown into an Asean powerhouse with operations connecting all 10 Asean member countries in addition to providing one of the widest route network across Asia, Australasia and beyond via its long-haul operations.