Wednesday, June 26

Chinese airlines may land at KIA for free

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KUCHING: Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) is expected to exempt four Chinese airlines from landing fees at Kuching International Airport (KIA) to improve the city’s connectivity with China.

Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said four airlines from China had shown keen interest in operating routes to Kuching.

“I have requested MAB to offer free landing fees for the four Chinese airlines for three years. This is a positive move to see more routes between China and Kuching,” he said during a Lunar New Year dinner jointly organised by Plaza Merdeka Management, The Waterfront Hotel, India Street Pedestrian Mall Committee, Kuching City Centre Consultative Committee and Kuching City Centre Community Association on Thursday.

Abang Johari said the exemption coupled with Sarawakian hospitality would help bring more tourists to the state.

Feedback from last month’s Asean Tourism Forum, he said, showed that delegates were impressed by both the hospitality of the locals and the city’s uniqueness.

“Some delegates say people of Kuching keep on smiling, which shows how great we are. They also say our city is very clean and well structured, making Kuching unique compared to other destinations.”

He thanked everyone involved for giving such a good impression to the delegates, adding their continued collaboration and hospitality would brand the city an attractive destination in the region.

Meanwhile, organising chairman Datuk Wee Hong Seng said a security force would be formed to patrol Padang Merdeka, Plaza Merdeka, Sarawak Tourism Complex, the Esplanade, from Pangkalan Batu to Brooke Dockyard, India Street and Kai Joo Lane all the way up to open air market.

He added CCTVs would be installed around India Street, Sarawak Tourism Complex and Kuching Waterfront, and they would be monitored by Plaza Merdeka’s security control room round the clock.

“The security forces shall perform their patrolling operations either by foot, cycling or by motorcycle. Dwellers, residents and occupants of every street involved are expected to contribute to this initiative to ensure its sustainability.”

Wee, also chairman of Kuching City Centre Consultative Committee and India Street Pedestrian Mall Committee, said the police would assist by appointing an officer to head the security force besides providing adequate training to the security team.

“This initiative is in line with (Kuching North) Datuk Bandar’s (Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai) vision that the district be made ‘Zero Crime’, and subsequently be emulated by other commercial districts in terms of crime handling.”