By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Jan 29: The Sarawak government’s promise to provide subsidised flights for Sarawakians studying in Peninsular Malaysia to return home for festive celebrations will most likely materialise during Gawai Dayak or Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year.
A reliable source said negotiations with airlines were still ongoing to determine the mechanism to provide subsidised flights to these students.
“The last Lan Berambeh (where the promise was made) was held in October last year and negotiation has not been completed or in time for such an arrangement with the airlines for the forthcoming Chinese New Year.
“Arrangements may be in time for Gawai or Hari Raya but certainly not in time for the Chinese New Year,” said the source, who requested anonymity.
During the last Lan Berambeh, which was held at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced that Sarawak would charter flights for Sarawakian students to allow them to return home during festive seasons.
He said the students would bear a certain amount of the airfare while the rest would be subsidised by the state government.
Abang Johari said this in response to a student who lamented that students studying in Peninsular Malaysia have to struggle with very expensive airfares, especially during festive seasons.
The question was raised by the student at the ‘TanyakAbgJo Session’.
On the spot, Abang Johari instructed Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof to work out the details of the mechanism, where students would likely be using their student cards to show eligibility and pay by using Sarawak Pay to take advantage of the charter. — DayakDaily
(Note of Editor: Abang Johari made promise to provide “subsidised flights” and not “free flights” as reported earlier. We apologise for the mistake.)