Subsidising Peninsula-Borneo States flights for two weeks will incur significant costs, says Loke

LANGKAWI: The proposal to extend the RM599 maximum fare from a three-day period to two weeks for one-way economy class flights from the peninsula to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri, will incur significant costs, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke (pic).

Loke said that the initiative, which also applies to other festive seasons, was undertaken by the Transport Ministry with no specific funding from the Treasury.

"That is what I want to do throughout the year (to provide subsidised fares). However, it is a cost that the ministry has to bear," he told the media after officiating the Routes Asia 2024 at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre here on Tuesday (Feb 27).

"Even for three days, it costs us a few million ringgit. So, I understand the sentiment, but it is a limitation that we face and in terms of financial resources, it won't be enough to cover (subsidising air fares for two weeks)," he added.

On Saturday (Feb 24), Loke announced that the government had set a maximum fare of RM599 for a one-way economy class flight from the peninsula to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, applicable for travel three days before Hari Raya.

He said that this initiative was part of the government's efforts to assist people to travel back to their hometowns for Hari Raya in April.

On Monday (Feb 26), Consumers Front of Sabah appealed to the government for the three-day period of RM599 maximum fare to be extended to two weeks, to allow more residents from the three regions to enjoy reasonable flight ticket prices when returning to their hometowns.

It was also of the view that the three days set to implement the maximum price of flight tickets for Hari Raya was not enough, because not everyone could take an early holiday, as some had to work during the festival and could only return to their hometowns afterwards. – Bernama

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