Friday, November 18, 2011

Sarawak government admits MAS-AirAsia share swap impacted tourism

KUCHING: The state government acknowledged that the recent MAS-AirAsia share swap had affected the state’s tourism sector.

“The lack of public information on the future plan of this joint collaboration between MAS and AirAsia has created anxiety among industry players.

“Furthermore, Sarawak has experienced cancellations of flights and this has caused inconvenience to the public,” noted Tourism Assistant Minister Datuk Talib Zulpilip at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday.

He was responding to state DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Bukit Assek) who asked how the collaboration had affected Sarawak both positively and adversely.

On Firefly ceasing to operate its Kuala Lumpur-Kuching and Johor Bahru-Kuching routes from Oct 31, Talib also noted that the move had undoubtedly left behind a vacuum.

“To address the issue, the state government has written to the federal government to express concern and displeasure on the lack of communication and consultation. The abrupt cancellation of firefly services after the announcement of the swap and collaboration between the two airlines do not augur well for the state.

“The state government has also initiated dialogues and meeting sessions to seek opportunities for foreign airlines to operate in Sarawak. The state government through Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd has offered attractive incentives such as three years free landing and parking fees and marketing support,” he said.

Talib said the government, however, had no intention to establish its own airlines.

“We are looking at various options including the positioning of MASWings as a regional airline to service Sarawak, Sabah and BIMP-Eaga region,” he added.

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