Sarawak and Sabah hope for shares in MASwings


KUCHING: The federal government will conduct a study to restructure MASwings, a fully owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, to enable Sarawak and Sabah to have equity ownership of the company.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who announced this at the ‘Jelajah Janji Ditepati’ carnival yesterday said the restructuring of MASwings would enable the two East Malaysian states to own a stake in the airline.

“The government understands that increasing air connectivity is important for the economic development of both states. The review for both state governments to own a part of the airline will be a priority,” he said when officiating at the carnival held at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

Also present were Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and other state dignitaries among thousands of visitors.

Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg assured last November the state would take up matters with the relevant authorities to develop MASwings as a regional airline to service Sabah and Sarawak.

Air connectivity is a critical factor in pushing up visitor numbers in the state.

“In this context, I believe MASwings can be developed as a regional airline that service Sarawak-Sabah, covering the BIMP-EAGA area and by extension to four important hub of Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Bali,” he said in his speech at the ‘2009/2010 Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Award’ gala night.

He suggested the vigorous tapping of the spending power of neighbouring countries such as Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia and even Australia.

Abang Johari who is also Housing Minister will hold a press conference today to elaborate on the airlines’ restructuring details and plans to benefit the state.

MASwings began operation on Oct 1, 2007 to undertake rural air services in both states.