FLYsiswa a blessing for many students from Borneo

KUALA LUMPUR: The RM300 FLYsiswa flight ticket subsidy is a much needed relief for varsity students who have to travel between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, as they say it will help to ease their financial burden.

In the past, some had to give up their plans to go home due to unaffordable airfares.

Daniel Tay Hong Yong, 20, from Mukah, Sarawak, said he is planning to claim the FLYsiswa subsidy soon.

“Flight ticket prices are very uncertain and sometimes it can be very expensive. For those of us who are not well-off, we will not be able to go back during semester breaks,” said the first year linguistic student when met at Universiti Malaya yesterday.

“My parents do not earn much,” he said, adding that the subsidised airfare will be helpful.

Muhammad Afeeq Daniel Hendry, 22, who hails from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, said he claimed the FLYsiswa incentive in October.

He said he could not go home for Hari Raya last year due to extremely expensive airfares.

“It usually costs RM200-RM300 to go to Sabah. But during the festive seasons, the ticket prices could go up to more than RM500. That is why I had to forgo the trip back to my hometown,” he said.

On whether RM300 was enough, he said the amount is sufficient for those travelling during semester breaks.

“But it would be good if the amount could be increased to RM500 for the festive season,” said Muhammad Afeeq, who is pursuing a degree in Economics in Universiti Malaya.

He is planning to travel to Kota Kinabalu in February.

Syafiqah Batrisyia Saharuddin, who is a third-year Biochemistry student, said she has claimed the incentive and plans to use it during the Hari Raya holidays.

The 21-year-old from Semporna, Sabah, said she had to buy tickets much earlier than her intended travel date in the past to get cheaper tickets.

“Sometimes it does affect our studies because we may have to miss classes for cheaper tickets,” she said.

She said that while RM300 is not enough to fund the whole trip, it does help to cut down the cost.

Chemistry student Nor Khalidah Sanip from Labuan said she plans to travel during the upcoming festive season.

“If I compare now to before Covid-19, the flight tickets could go up to RM2,000 during festive seasons. We have to buy tickets earlier to get cheaper tickets, but this is difficult as we do not know the schedule for the next semester,” she said.

“Not that we can buy the tickets at the last-minute, but at least FLYsiswa reduces the burden in terms of cost.”

Expensive airfares has been a longstanding issue, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, as airlines recover from the impact of lockdowns and demand for air travel picks back up.

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