SEPANG: The Transport Ministry is examining the mechanisms to overcome the problem of expensive flight ticket prices prior to all festive seasons, especially for routes to and from Sabah and Sarawak.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said he was given a mandate by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during the last Cabinet meeting to be responsible for finding a solution to the issue.
“The ministry is also looking for ways and initiatives to solve this problem not only for the celebration of Hari Raya but also other festivals such as Chinese New Year and Hari Gawai.
“In fact, almost two months ago, various plans and discussions were made, such as increasing the ticket quota since March, to overcome this problem,” he told reporters after presenting Aidilfitri contributions to passengers at KLIA2 on Thursday night, Bernama reported.
He also said the ministry is planning a similar initiative to help students returning to their hometowns not only during the festive season, but also during semester breaks.
Loke said that the target group for the initiative would first be students from public institutions of higher education, adding that the students involved are identified through a collaboration with the Higher Education Ministry.“This (mechanism) is also being refined but the main thing is that we have identified and obtained data on students from Sabah and Sarawak who are studying in the peninsula.
“The same goes for students from the peninsula who are studying in the two states.
“There are more than 50,000 in this group,” he said.
Earlier this week, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the high price of a one-way flight ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau is shocking and disappointing.
He pointed out that the fare for an economy class seat to the destination on April 20 was RM3,138.
He questioned how the B40 and M40 groups in other parts of Malaysia would celebrate the festival this year if the ticket cost is high.
“Airlines have no excuse not to increase the frequency of flights as long as there is capacity.
“The passenger load is no longer capped at 50% like during the pandemic, which justified the high airfare,” he said.
He said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) had approved more flights, just like before the pandemic.
“I urge the airlines to reconsider the high airfares and be considerate to the people as this has caused a huge burden on them,” said Dr Wee.