Federal transport minister: Too costly to subsidise Hari Raya airfares for 2 weeks

Anthony Loke. Photo credit: Anthony Loke's Facebook page

By DayakDaily Team

LANGKAWI, Feb 27: It is too costly for the government to subsidise the one-way economy class flights for two weeks from Peninsular Malaysia to East Malaysia in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri, says Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook.

According to a news report by Free Malaysia Today, Loke mentioned that the festive initiative was by the ministry with no specific funding from the Treasury, adding that it would cost the government a few million ringgit for three days.

“I understand the sentiment, but this is a limitation that we face, and in terms of financial resources, it won’t be enough to cover (the cost of subsidising the airfares for two weeks),” he was quoted as saying.

The airfare, which has a maximum rate of RM599 from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak, Sabah, and Labuan, is only applicable for travel three days before Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

The initiative was also carried out during Christmas and Chinese New Year and will apply to Kaamatan and Gawai Dayak.

This followed a call from the Consumers Front of Sabah for the subsidised airfares for Hari Raya Aidilfitri to be extended to two weeks from the current three days.

The reasoning was it would allow East Malaysians to enjoy reasonable flight ticket prices when returning to their hometowns. — DayakDaily