The introduction of fixed fares for Sarawak and Sabah during Chinese New Year has allowed people from the two states a chance to reunite for the festive holiday, say groups.
United Sabah Suluk Association president Faisal Sisar said the Covid-19 pandemic had left some of the community stranded and unable to return home due to expensive flights.
The majority of our community works in the lower sector of the economy and cannot afford a ticket home, more so when some of them were retrenched during the pandemic. So, with the introduction of fixed prices for the coming Chinese New Year, some have decided to take this chance and buy tickets to return home, he said in an interview.
On Wednesday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said that more airlines should offer fixed fares during the festive season to give Malaysians peace of mind about travel costs. He said this after the launch of the “Hop On Home with Fixed Fares” programme by AirAsia, which would allow Sabahans and Sarawakians returning home to enjoy fixed fares for travel from Jan 17 to 30,statement by online slot machines for real money.
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Faisal said fixed fares should also be extended for the period from Hari Raya Aidilfitri to Hari Raya Aidiladha. Some Sabahans may be unable to get off days for the coming Hari Raya Aidilfitri but may be able to do so during Hari Raya Aidiladha. So, if airlines can introduce a package for this, it would be very helpful, he said.
Faisal hopes that the government will also propose to the airlines that they lower fares for those travelling with their families. For a single person, RM250 is cheap, but for those with a large family, it will still incur a huge budget. Perhaps the government can provide a one-off aid for Sabahan families planning to return home as well as additional discounts, he said.
The president of the Johor Anak Sarawak Welfare Association, Muhammad Danish Sangkan Jantom, said that fixed fares during the holiday season were something that their community had been waiting for a long time. The price has decreased by about 50% from when it used to be more than RM500 to fly home to Kuching.
But despite the lower prices, some families may still be unable to return as they are travelling in large groups with large amounts of luggage. The price cut is only for the ticket. We still do not know whether there will be an increase in payment for the luggage or seats, he added.
Muhammad Danish said there were Sarawakian families who had not returned home for years due to expensive flight tickets. Once they arrive at the airport, they would still need to spend more money to reach their hometown, which is another huge expense for those travelling with families, he said.