Sibu’s call for more direct flights gains momentum

Dato Andrew Wong

Dr Hii Sui Cheng

Johnny Wong Sie Lee

SIBU: Chairman of Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Datuk Tiong Thai King’s recent call for more direct flights to Sibu is getting more support from local people.

United People’s Party (UPP) Community Service Board Sibu chairman Dato Andrew Wong for one, said there should not be a monopoly situation created for Sibu.

“For example, the Sibu-Kuching sector is served by AirAsia  while other sectors are given specifically to MASWings. I fully support this call by Datuk Tiong for more direct flights for Sibu,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Tiong had urged the state government to persuade other airlines to include Sibu as one of their destinations.

He said Kuching, Miri and Bintulu all have direct connectivity with other cities but was puzzled as to why Sibu’s request for direct air connectivity is ignored. By right, Sibu should have the same status as Kuching, Miri and Bintulu.

Tiong had also appealed to the state government to stop placing Sibu under the Rural Air Services (RAS) category.

The Dudong assemblyman said this at the closing of Visit Sibu Year (VSY) 2017 and New Year Countdown on Sunday.

In fact, Tiong’s call for better air connectivity is supported by Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.

Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) president Dr Hii Sui Cheng, meanwhile, said the local business community had consistently asked for better air accessibility to Sibu, the commercial centre serving the state’s central region.

“I urge airlines not to overlook this destination which is serviced by AirAsia for the  KL-Sibu and Kuching-Sibu sectors.

“There is a demand for airline services between Kota Kinabalu (KK) and Sibu.

“Personally, I am very disappointed with Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) for erroneously concluding otherwise.

“The lack of air connectivity between Sibu and KK may actually become a hot issue in the forthcoming general election if the people’s request is ignored,” he said.

Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong Sie Lee said SMC had been trying so hard to promote the local tourism yet Sibu is still placed under the RAS category.

He said putting an end to the air monopoly would result in more tourists flocking to Sibu.

“I fully support Tiong. Sibu Municipal Council has promoted tourism projects over the years, yet the state government places Sibu under RAS category.

“This is unfair to Sibu and I am sure the local people will fully support me on this,” Johnny said.

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