M’sia-Indonesia VTL will revive airline industry

For the rakyat’s benefit: Dr Wee (centre) handing over robes to imams of mosques and suraus from the Ayer Hitam area.

AYER HITAM: The travel corridor between Malaysia and Indonesia will help revive the airlines industry and see a return of lost jobs in the sector, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

He noted that those working at airports and the airline industry, including cabin crew, pilots and even those working in the logistic sector, could soon get their jobs back.

“We will open up carefully to protect the country as we are still facing Covid-19,” he said at a ceremony to hand over 163 robes to imams from 32 mosques and 100 suraus in Ayer Hitam.

Malaysia and Indonesia had agreed, on Wednesday, to implement a travel corridor between both countries through the Travel Corridor Arrangement or Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL), as both countries are currently recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the relevant ministers will refine the arrangements so that the border between the two countries, involving the Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur-Bali-Kuala Lumpur routes, can be opened.

Dr Wee noted that the government had announced reopening of the border with Singapore through the VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Meanwhile the Ayer Hitam MP was also with Senior Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof during a groundbreaking ceremony to upgrade the FT050 (Jalan Batu Pahat-Ayer Hitam-Kluang) road.

In his speech, Dr Wee said he is grateful for the project and hopes that it would resolve the high accident rates there.

“The issue of road safety has been something I have always prioritised since becoming an MP, especially when it comes to high-risk roads like the FT050.

“Almost every month, we will hear about an accident taking place on the FT050 road, including those involving deaths.

“The upgrading work is necessary to solve this problem once and for all. I hope the people of Ayer Hitam and all road users will benefit from the project,” he said.

Dr Wee also expressed hope that FT01 (Jalan Ayer Hitam-Chaah), which is another busy federal road under his constituency, will also be earmarked for improvement works.

“The stretch of road on FT01 from Gemas to Segamat was upgraded previously, and later extended to Chaah. However, from Chaah to here (Ayer Hitam), the road is very uneven and is in need of some improvement.

“I hope that this will also be focused on,” he said.

Fadillah, who is also Works Minister, noted that FT050 had been identified as having one of the highest frequencies of accidents in the country.

“The upgrading work is not only to provide road users with better comfort and to reduce congestion, but its objective is also to reduce road accidents, particularly fatalities.

“Based on a study, we found that out of 405 road accidents that took place along the road between 2015 and 2020, 227 were fatal accidents, which shows the importance of upgrading the road,” he added.

Fadillah also handed over acceptance letters to contractors yesterday.

He said the road is also prone to congestion and based on a study carried out last year, some 28,298 road traffic users were recorded in a span of 16 hours.

“We understand that it will also be challenging to carry out the road works while it is still in use.

“We have told the Public Works Department as well as our contractors and consultants to try and reduce the burden that road users may have to face during the construction,” he said.

Fadillah said a channel will be set up for the public to voice their opinions on how the government could further ease their difficulties during the construction period.

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