To avoid a RM5-million lawsuit, Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin has to post an apology to AirAsia Bhd for six months on his blog, for implying it served pork on its flights.
However, the former information minister and Utusan Malaysia group editor has vowed that he will publish the apology on his blog indefinitely.
Zainuddin said he did not realise that his views in an article titled Hidangan Babi Dalam Penerbangan Air Asia, Orang Islam Patut Tangguhkan Dulu Terbang Dengan Pesawat Ini (Pork served on AirAsia flights, Muslims should hold off flying with the airline) would tarnish the image of Asia's largest budget carrier.
Muslims are forbidden to consume pork and most Malaysian businesses have been sensitive about it, either having a halal certification or specifically saying pork is not served on their premises.
All Malaysian airlines do not serve pork although some serve alcoholic drinks, which is also forbidden in Islam.
Zainuddin said he only realised this after he received a letter of demand from AirAsia Bhd's lawyers a month after the blog posting.
"My writing gave the impression that pork was served on their flights. This is not at all true," he said in a statement on his blog zamkata.blogspot.com .
"I apologise to AirAsia Bhd for any injury to their reputation because of the article, and I hope the public is cleared of any doubt over the issue," he added.
Zainuddin said he trusts that the airlines are sensitive to religious beliefs of all their passengers.
"AirAsia asked me to carry the apology to them for six months, but I will carry it for years to come, so that it reaches a wider circulation and provides information to future generations," he said. - August 28, 2013.