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PM agrees in principle to bid for Sarawak state-owned airline

Anwar Ibrahim says this could help address the problem of expensive airfare rates.

Bernama
2 minute read
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Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim (second right) with Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg (right) in Kuching, April 17. Photo: Bernama
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim (second right) with Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg (right) in Kuching, April 17. Photo: Bernama

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has agreed in principle to a proposal from the Sarawak government for a state-owned boutique airline aimed at stabilising airfare prices for flights from the peninsula to the Borneo Island.

Anwar said the airline could ease the problem of expensive airfare rates between the peninsula and Sarawak and Sabah.

"Looking at the performance and capability of the Sarawak government, I have agreed in principle to the proposal of setting up another airline company by the Sarawak government," he said at an event in Kuching yesterday.

The prime minister added that the Sarawak government’s proposal would be brought to the weekly Cabinet meeting for further discussion.

"I agree to the proposal. In fact, at our Cabinet meeting last week and in Wednesday’s meeting, the details like expensive airfare and the setting up of a new boutique airline as suggested by the Sarawak government will be discussed," he said.

Earlier, in his speech at the same function, Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg expressed hope that the federal government would approve the proposal to set up the state-owned airline.

Abang Johari said that the setting up of a new airline would help stabilise airfare rates.

"We (Sarawak) are in the Borneo Island. If people want to come here, they need to take a flight because they cannot use any other mode of transportation, but the airfare is expensive.

"We do not want to compete with other airlines. We just want to stabilise the airfare to the state. The airfare from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching is the same as the airfare from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong. Therefore, the state government is ready to invest in an airline company," he said.

On Nov 13 last year, Abang Johari was reported as saying that the Sarawak government was still waiting for approval for a licence from the transport ministry, to enable the state to set up and operate its own airline.

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