KUCHING: MASwings’ foray into new international destinations in BIMP-EAGA will bring about competitiveness and stronger economic growth.
This is because the direct flights connecting the main cities in Sarawak and Sabah with Brunei, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan will be able to integrate economic-related activities in the region.
Besides that, the tourism industry will flourish and there will be a ‘spill over’ to other economic sectors as well, said Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg at the MASwings BIMP-EAGA gala dinner on Monday night.
MASwings commenced its international operations to Bandar Sri Begawan, Pontianak and Tarakan earlier this month.
“Sarawak, in particular, has been enjoying good relationship with our neighbours at the government level, and we hope to continue to improve the relationships within the private sector.
“With better facilities in terms of connectivity, we can definitely enhance good relationships in the region.
“Business communities will be able to engage among themselves and explore new areas for cooperation,” added Abang Johari.
He noted that the increasing demand from the people calls for more carriers and flights.
“For instance, there is an increase in the number of students from West Kalimantan in Swinburne University and other colleges. There is also an increase of visitors who come here for medical checkups in Normah, KPJ and Sibu Medical Centre.
“With the new routes, MASwings is able to serve those demands,” he said.
Abang Johari pointed out that economic cooperation would also bring about changes to the economic life of the people.
“As their disposable income increases, we will create a new middle class of people who will be competitive with others in the region.
“We in Sarawak will give our full support to make this a reality,” he said.
Also present at the gala dinner were MASwings chief executive officer Datuk Captain Mohd Nawawi Awang, Tourism Ministry permanent secretary Datu Ik Pahon Joyik, Brunei consulate Muhd Afiq Husaini Abdullah, Indonesian consulate-general Djoko Hardyanto and other delegates.