Press Statement by YB Kelvin Yii:
The flight ticket cost from West Malaysia – Sarawak/Sabah has increased significantly since the implementation of MCO/CMCO and this has been a huge burden to East Malaysians and the people in general.
What use to cost between RM300- RM 500 for a two way ticket from KL now can cost up to RM 3000 and even more for a 2 way flight. That’s more than 1000% increase.
This has affected many Sarawakians even that want to travel back either for work or even a trip to be with family. I received complaints from doctors and other frontliners that just intends to travel back for a rest back home after their busy posting in one of their hospitals in Semenanjung over the peak of COVID-19 period, but are unable too due to the excessive prices of tickets.
There are even news of teachers that need to get back to work here in Sarawak/Sabah that are also burdened by the high prices of tickets.
I understand that flight companies must reduce the amount of passengers to maintain a safe social distancing on top of implementation of other safety precautions. In that case, they may need to increase price to cover cost but yet it shouldn’t be so drastic especially if this is supposed to be the new norm.
Now that the economy is mostly open, if ticket prices are still so high, it will affect alot of things incluing the cost of doing business for some SMEs. Some companies require frequent travel between the regions for business. This will increase the cost of business and will not only burden the companies, but the cost may be passed on to the consumers as well.
So while the government should assist the airlines companies and especially to make sure they retain their workers, but it should not be an excessive burden to consumers including those from Sabah & Sarawak.
Under PH, there were discussions with airlines companies to reduce prices during peak festive seasons. That is why there was an introduction of additional flights to reduce the cost of flights back home during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Raya and Gawai.
While situations are different now, but the government should also look into having more comprehensive discussion and engagement with the airlines to come up maybe with a ceiling price or a reasonable way forward that is not too excessive and burdensome for those intending to travel between West Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak either for work or just to be with family, especially since this new normal may last even for a few more months up to a year.