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Sarawakians in Peninsula see red over expensive airfares

0 month ago, 26-Nov-2021

The overpriced flight tickets would not only deter them from returning home for the year-end holidays but would likely lead them to forgo their plan to cast their votes in the 12th Sarawak state election on Dec 18. – – Malay Mail photo

KUCHING (Nov 26): It seems like most Sarawakians living and working in the peninsula will not be celebrating Christmas in their hometown due to the recent hike in airfares.

The overpriced flight ticketswouldnot only deter them from returning home for the year-end holidays but would likely lead them to forgo their plan to cast their votes inthe 12thSarawak state election on Dec 18.

Noodle sellerLeo Joe Miller who hailsfrom Kampung Bangau, Padawan near here and now living in Kuala Lumpur saidthis yearwould be his fourth year of not going back to his home state, as the last two years was due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s not that I dont want to bring my family back to Sarawak, but it would cost me almost RM5,000 just to purchase the tickets and this is such a burden to us, he told Bernama when contacted today.

The 34-year-old father of three said the pandemic had hit hard on his small business and he wanted the federal and Sarawak governments to intervene so that the airfares could be lowered to a level affordable to the low-income group.

Leo said not every Sarawakians working in the peninsulawere doing well as most of them were only wishing to seek a greener pastureto improve their livelihood.

We are not (working) here for fun…we are looking for a better opportunity but this situation (the pandemic) iscertainly making it worst andthe overpriced flight ticket is just like adding salt to our wound, he lamented.

Meanwhile, a content writer based in Kuala Lumpur, Gareth Dawumsaid he hadto cancel his plan to fly back to Kuching forthe two important events, the Christmas celebration and the state election.

“The last time I checked, the pricewas around RM1,000 to RM4,000 for both ways and this is really harga kayangan (expensive), he said.

He hoped that airline companieswould consider reducing the airfares especially to enableSarawakians to return home toexercise their voting rights.

The 32-year-old from Kuching saidmanySarawakians were looking forwardto spending time especially with their parents or settling some important errands after almosttwo years of not being able to return home due tothe movement restrictions imposed by the government.

Sarawak songbird Alena Murang was also among those from the state who expressed her shockand disappointmentover the overpriced airfaresfor flights from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching in December.

Trying to get the best flights to Kuching (from Kuala Lumpur) for Christmas and shocked at these prices! After including add-ons & KLIA airport transfers, safe to say we might as well be flying to London!

“If you knew how many tears were shed by all the Sarawakians who couldn’t return home last year cause (of)lockdown.Please have a heart,I mean, we are the state that celebrates Christmas the most!” she wrote on her Instagram and Facebook pages.

Acheckby Bernama on several websites ofairlines operating flights from the peninsula toSarawak today showedthat the cheapestone-way ticket for the KL-Kuching route wasRM1,299, KL-Sibu (RM888) and KL-Miri (RM665).— Bernama

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