Now Sabah DAP joins in saying ‘only rich can fly’
Published on: Saturday, December 02, 2017
Kota Kinabalu: The opposition DAP joined government backbencher Datuk Bung Moktar Radin in criticising AirAsia for claiming to be a budget airline while imposing ridiculously high fares.
Its Sabah advisor Jimmy Wong Sze Phin said flying to London for a holiday would be far cheaper during the coming Chinese New Year rather than to Tawau or Sandakan.
“The Air Asia slogan says ‘Now everyone can fly’. Honestly, with the fares they advertise, especially during peak season, they should change it to ‘Now only the rich can fly’,” he told a press conference, Friday.
He said Sabahans and Sarawakians who need to return from the peninsula or want to go there have three airline choices, Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, and Malindo.
“Ticket prices are at a premium and simply out of reach of many ordinary citizens, white-collar employees, and let alone students during peak season in particular festivities or year-end holidays.
“We have no other choice because they dictate the fares and it is no longer affordable or cheap,” he said.
Wong claimed he had to fork out about RM1,000 for a one-way trip from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu on the “budget” airline due to an emergency two months ago,
He said the year-end Christmas fares between Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, or Sandakan are already priced over RM1,000.
In this regard, he said the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) should help consumers purchase tickets at reasonable prices instead of helping the authorities increase fees at KLIA which would further burden travelers.
“They must also seriously look into making Malaysia Airlines offer a discount card to students as well as the elderly,” he said, adding many students had no choice but to travel to the peninsula to continue their studies.
He also called on the State Government to not be silent and allow airlines overcharge, but intervene to get a better deal for the people.
“Stop pretending that you do not know what is happening when the people are being slaughtered by airline companies. You must step in,” he said.
Wong also urged the State Government to be serious in getting Sabah Air to look into operating a domestic service.
“They can provide an actual budget travel service between Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur, and then expand an internal service from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau or Sandakan.
“I am sure Sabahans will fully use your services if your fares are competitive and reasonable,” he said.
Last month, Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin accused AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines of being unreasonable to Sabahans and others travelling to and from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur and vice versa.
He accused AirAsia, in particular, of subjecting travelers to “hidden costs” for luggage beyond 15kg, while both Malaysia Airlines and Malindo offer up to 30kg free luggage.
He said he had witnessed villagers cry because they did not have the money to buy new tickets.
He said AirAsia had also become so arrogant that they would reject passengers even if they were only 10 minutes late and ask them to buy new tickets, instead.
AirAsia denied the claims and asked Bung to provide proof. Similar criticisms have been directed at airlines, especially Malaysia Airlines Berhad, by the Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce. – Locksley Ng