Labuan airfare subsidy urged
Published on: Friday, November 03, 2017
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Labuan: Chairman of the Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce Datuk Wong Kii Yii (pic) said the Government should consider Labuan as a "special case" and provide subsidy on air travel since MAS fares involving Labuan are even higher than going to some international destinations.To support his claim, Wong drew attention to MAS fares between the Labuan-KL sectors during the coming Chinese New Year (CNY) as published online.

"The fare quoted from Kuala Lumpur to Labuan from February 11 to 17 is RM1, 171 (one way) and for Labuan to KL from Feb 21 to 25 is RM1, 709 meaning to say the return fare for the period is RM3, 420," he said.

He added it was not stated these fares applied to which category of travel while in another category, the KL-Labuan fare from 11 to 17 Feb is RM913 and from Labuan to KL from 21 to 25 Feb is RM912 making it a total return fare of RM1,825.

He said normally during peak travel season such as CNY and other occasions fares are expected to be high "but not sky high and jaw-breaking with such high fares how are families to return home for their reunion dinner?" asked Wong.

Describing both the categories of fares of RM3,420 and RM1,825 as exorbitant, Wong said with such fares many may as well spend their CNY at home or travel to another city in China as it may be less expensive."

He said that regrettably, the only way out of air from Labuan was either via MAS or MASwings, in KL and Kota Kinabalu there are other airlines. He said it was ironic that the more the Chamber complained about high fares on the sector the more it will be going up and the Ministry of Transport doesn't seem concerned.

"Being an International Business Centre as well and an oil and gas hub we are also surprised that Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai never visited the island to look into the woes of the business sector in air travel.

"We believe it is just the Minister's responsibility to visit all towns and not just the big ones in PutraJaya."

Wong also recalled that while the oil and gas went down here the PM had suggested that all ministries provided support to Labuan" what type of support has MOT provided to Labuan," asked Wong.

He also said that not only during CNY was airfares high but on regular bases even between the Labuan-KK sector the one way fare is usually between RM300 and RM400.

"With such fares who would be attracted to visit the island."

He said the airlines reply to his such complaint was that passenger load was not good at times but how it could be good when flights were delayed or cancelled and people find it more reliable to travel by road and ferry. - Sohan Das


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