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KUCHING, Oct 27: The cost of a flight ticket from West Malaysia to Sarawak and Sabah has increased significantly since the implementation of theMovement Control Order and this trend has continued even to the present day when the government has already allowed inter-state travel.
This is an issue that Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii will raise in Parliament,especially on the government’s plans on how to regulate and control airfares that have been a huge burden to East Malaysians, even those who want to travel back either for work or even a trip to be with family.
“Recent checks on all the airline websites show that what used to cost between RM300 and RM500 for a return ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching now can cost up to RM3,000 or more. That’s more than a 1,000 percent increase.
“We have received multiple complaints from thepublic intending to travel home; doctors and other frontliners who just intend to travel back home for a short rest after their busy posting in one of their hospitals in the Peninsular over the peak Covid-19 period, but are unable too due to the excessive price of tickets,” said Dr Yii in a press statement today.
Not only that, the frequency of flights is still limited, which may be the main reason that has caused prices to rise exorbitantly despite the assurance by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) that flight frequencies will increase beginning Oct 1.
To him, this is something that should be properly addressed in view of the Sarawak government’s desire to promote more local tourism, the demand for travelling, quarantine exemption for fully vaccinated people travelling within Malaysia and also the reopening of schools and universities recently.
High ticket costs, Dr Yii said, also affects other sectors, including the cost of doing business for some SMEs. Some companies require frequent travel between the regions for business. This will increase the cost of business and will not only burden the companies, but this cost may be passed on to consumers as well.
He pointed out that on top of that, with rumours of an impending Sarawak Election, all efforts must be made to allow eligible Sarawakians to travel back to vote safely without being burdened by the heavy cost of logistical obstacles to protect their democratic right to vote.
“That is why I urge both the Ministry of Transport and State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to properly engage and have a more comprehensive discussion with all airlines and aviation authorities such as Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM), Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), Malaysian Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and other relevant stakeholders to come up with a better arrangement and flight schedules to holistically address this problem.
“I strongly encourage all those that are flying to strictly comply with all necessary standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the National Security Council, Health Ministry for their own safety and safety of their loved ones. While it is not required but I also encourage travellers to do frequent self-testing before they fly and before they meet their loved ones, especially those in high risk categories just as an extra precaution,” said Dr Yii. — DayakDaily