SIBU: Transport Minister Anthony Loke and his subordinates need to answer for the runway light failure that happened at Sibu airport on Tuesday (Aug 13), says Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing (pic).
The Bintulu MP said the incident was "symptomatic of a broader pattern of mismanagement across airports in Sabah and Sarawak, where facilities and maintenance have been severely lacklustre, making passengers suffer even though they have paid for the services in the form of the Passenger Service Charge."
The malfunctioning of the runway lights was detected by the management
of the airport at 3pm on Tuesday and the airport was closed to air traffic from 6pm to 7am on Wednesday (Aug 14) for repair work.
This closure affected 1, 561 passengers as 12 inbound and outbound Air Asia and MasWings flights had to be rescheduled to the next day.
Tiong said Loke, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) and the Sibu Airport management must all answer for this incident.
He added that the incident could have been avoided if regular maintenance and inspections on the airport's facilities had been duly carried out.
"What was most frustrating - particularly for the passengers - was the non-existent handling of the matter by any official airport authority. The affected passengers were not even given bottled water to drink, " he said in a statement Thursday (Aug 15).
Tiong added that the airport was closed and the passengers were "effectively expelled", adding that both local and international travellers were affected.
He also claimed that there were no crisis management in place, saying that the airport's management should have taken full responsibility by assisting affected passengers by arranging for accommodation and meals if necessary.
"Clearly, the airport had failed those they are meant to serve, " said Tiong.
Tiong said he had repeatedly brought up the problems of inadequate maintenance of the infrastructure and facilities in Sabah and Sarawak airports in Parliament, but nothing was done to improve them.
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