Saturday, June 19

Ministry to consider Sibu-Singapore direct flight

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Abdul Karim (fourth left) holds a saxophone during a photo-call with Hii (left), Sibu Rural District Council deputy chairman Robert Lau (right), Gracie (fourth right) and others.

SIBU: The highly-requested Sibu-Singapore direct flight will be given due consideration, says Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He points out that with the Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office now open in Singapore, the time is right to consider the request.

“It is probably a good time to consider (the request) but then, we will need a lot of discussions on this,” he told reporters after the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival (KWJF) showcase at a hotel here on Saturday night.

Also present were Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Sibu Resident Charles Siaw and Gracie Geikie of Place Borneo Sdn Bhd.

Abdul Karim noted that there were many flights from Kuching to Sibu.

“But for direct flights from outside (Sarawak), there is always this pull (factor)…Kuching wants it and so does Miri…so, we have to see to it one at the time.

“Let the industry develop in these cities and from there, it will progress into flights. I can’t make any promises yet in regard to Sibu…whether the flights are coming in from China and all that.

“Normally, it will always be the capital and fortunately, Kuching is the capital (for Sarawak),” he said when asked if there would be more direct flights to Sibu.

The Asajaya assemblyman gave assurance that if ‘the market was good,’ his ministry would make arrangements for airlines to fly directly to Sibu or Miri.

Nevertheless, Abdul Karim said Sibu had a good potential in the tourism market and was considered to be the gateway to the hinterlands.

In this regard, he disclosed that one of the areas his ministry was looking into was eco-tourism adventure as tourists would need to go through Sibu to reach the interiors.

“Therefore, I can see that Sibu is a very good market for eco-tourism, nature and so on,” he said and stressed on the importance of good road accessibility and facilities for the tourism industry here to thrive.

Earlier, Abdul Karim watched ‘Voglers’ from Kuching belting out a jazz number.

KWJF is set to take place at the Waterfront Walkway of Grand Margherita Hotel in Kuching this Sept 27 and 28.

The festival is run by Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) through its operating unit Grand Margherita Hotel, and managed by Place Borneo Sdn Bhd.

The event also receives full support from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, as well as Sarawak Tourism Board (STB).