Enabling flights from Peninsular Malaysia: Sarawak to discuss with federal govt

Abdul Karim briefing the press during a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia. Screenshot taken from Sarawak Public Communications Unit (UKAS) broadcast.

KUCHING, April 13: The Sarawak government will hold talks with the Transport Ministry to facilitate flights from Peninsular Malaysia to the state in the third phase of the movement control order (MCO).

This follows the decision by all air passenger carriers to temporarily suspend flights between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak from April 15 to 30.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) deputy chairman Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah revealed that the discussion will be carried out by the Sarawak Transport Ministry with its counterpart in Peninsular Malaysia to enable Sarawakians and cargo to be transported into Sarawak during the third phase of the movement control order (MCO) period.

“We have been informed by air passenger carriers such as MAS, AirAsia and Malindo that they have cancelled all their flights coming to Sarawak starting from April 15 to 30.

“Nonetheless, SDMC disagrees with the decision.

“This is because sometimes, there is a need for people — for instance, Sarawakians — to return home during an emergency.

“Sarawak is located on an island and we cannot cut off air travel completely.

“There might also be urgency to transport cargo such as face masks or equipment.

“Therefore, SDMC has instructed the Sarawak Transport Ministry to deal with its counterpart in West Malaysia.”

Abdul Karim who is Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister made these remarks during a press conference here today to provide updates on the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak.

At the same time, Abdul Karim also revealed that the state government has banned the resumption of business by hairdressers in Sarawak during the third phase of the MCO, in line with the federal government’s reversal of its earlier announcement.

For the operation of other sectors, he disclosed that SDMC is still in discussion and will reveal which sectors are allowed to operate in the near future.

On another note, Abdul Karim disclosed that there were 310 more Sarawakians who have returned either from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah or Labuan today.

The cumulative number of Sarawakians who have returned to Sarawak is 1,063 people during the second phase of the MCO which started on April 1.

All returnees have been placed at selected hotels, which included Pullman Kuching, which is a five star hotel. — DayakDaily