KUCHING: Airline companies need to come to a compromise to resolve the issue of high ticket prices to Sabah and Sarawak, especially during the year-end holidays, festive seasons and the 12th Sarawak state election.

Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pix) said the government understands the constraints faced by airlines due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected their operations and profits.

He said the government will never interfere with airlines by setting ceiling prices.

“What’s important is that we do not burden Malaysians, whose incomes have also been affected by the same pandemic. Sarawakians also need to return home to carry out their civic duties as voters in the upcoming state election.

“Expensive ticket prices are unfair to them as the date of the state election has just been announced and tickets need to be bought in such a short time,” he said in a statement today.

Checks by Bernama yesterday indicated that the lowest price for a one-way flight for the Kuala Lumpur (KUL)-Kuching route was RM1,299, KUL-Sibu (RM888) and KUL-Miri (RM665).

AirAsia announced in a statement today that it had received official approval from the Sarawak Ministry of Transport (MOTS) and the Sarawak state disaster management committee (SDMC) today for an additional 42 weekly flights from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah to Sarawak for the limited period of Dec 11, 2021 till Dec 5, 2022.

According to AirAsia, this would reduce ticket prices for KUL-Kuching from around RM1,000 to RM200 one-way and the tickets have almost sold out as soon as they were made available.

The Election Commission has set Dec 6 as the nomination day for the Sarawak state elections, with polling day falling on Dec 18. Early voting will be held on Dec 14. — Bernama