Sunday, September 20

Sarawak to appeal against two-week suspension of flights from Peninsula

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The Sarawak government is appealing to the federal Transport Ministry to allow airline companies to operate flights between the state and Peninsular Malaysia at a minimum. – File photo

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is appealing to the federal Transport Ministry to allow airline companies to operate flights between the state and Peninsular Malaysia at a minimum.

Expressing his concerns, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said without flights coming into Sarawak, not only Sarawakians from outside would not be able to get back home, but essential supplies like face masks and some food that require air cargo shipping would not be able to get into the state.

“We feel that domestic flights from the peninsula into Sarawak are still needed for essential travels.

“Therefore the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDNC) have instructed the Sarawak Transport Ministry to discuss with the Federal Transport Ministry to resolve this issue,” he said at a SDMC press conference giving the daily updates on Covid-19 today.

This is following statements from MAS, Air Asia and Malindo that beginning April 15 until April 30, all of their domestic flights will be canceled.

Abdul Karim said domestic flights, especially from the peninsula into Sarawak is still needed not only for essential travels but also shipping of essential supplies like face masks and food items.

He said if all flights shipping these items are to cease for two weeks, there might also be a hike in the prices of some of the essential goods due to supplies affected by no flights to ship them into the state.

“There will be a huge influx of people rushing to airports trying to get flights back before April 15. As you know Sarawak is an island. If there are no flights into Sarawak, people trying to get home will face difficulties.

“I think this is something the federal government should consider,” said Abdul Karim.

He proposed that the flights from the peninsula into Sarawak be allowed but at a minimum, at the same time passengers and flight crews are to adhere strictly with the standard operating procedures (SOP) like social distancing, sanitising practices and wearing face masks.