Extra flights can control peninsula-Borneo travel prices during festive season, Sabah MP tells transport minister

Transportation Published 1 year ago on 15 April 2022 | Author TIN Media

Sabah DAP leader Chan Foong Hin today took aim at Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong for his alleged failure to control flight fares from the peninsula to Borneo Malaysia from soaring out of control. The Kota Kinabalu MP said the soaring prices for plane tickets were a perennial issue and could be mitigated if the minister had taken measures to ensure the availability of extra flights during festive seasons.

“I am certainly disappointed with Wee as he had failed to make any such arrangements for additional flights.

“The increase in demand for air tickets to Sabah from Peninsular Malaysia during the festive seasons is clearly predictable and foreseeable as it happens every year, and so it is unacceptable for Wee to have overlooked and neglected to take any measures to ensure additional flights are arranged,” he said in a statement.

He added that the latest flight price increase is “unacceptable” claiming that there was no increase in jet fuel prices or the operating spending of airlines.

Chan, who is also a DAP executive council member, said that fares go up when the demand is high but he does not believe in imposing a ceiling on prices.

Instead, he mooted increasing the number of flights during festive seasons as the best solution.

“As such, I would like to call upon Wee to have airlines to arrange for additional flights to control airfare prices from spiralling out of control,” he said.

Chan said that when Pakatan Harapan held federal power, the then transport minister Anthony Loke had personally intervened and managed to keep prices low. 

He pointed out that for the Hari Raya celebration in 2018, Loke arranged for 458 additional flights between the peninsula and east Malaysia.

“I am truly disappointed at the said massive increase in air fare.  It is not as if fuel prices or operating expenditure had increased tremendously during the festive season, and therefore, there is no reason for such price hike of air tickets.

Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor has described the extent of the increase of airfares as “burdening the people”, while his deputy Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin called the current prices “daylight robbery” by the airlines.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Jafry Ariffin said it was “ridiculous” as Sabah is only accessible by air from peninsular Malaysia.