In his response to a request made by Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg today, he said the matter will be brought up at this Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting for further discussion.
“Don’t worry Premier – on this Wednesday evening, we will give an official answer with myself as the chairman of the Cabinet to provide the way.
“God willing, the other friends in the Cabinet will also agree,” he said at the official opening of Raia Hotel and Convention Centre Kuching.
Anwar said the matter was also previously brought up at the last Cabinet meeting, and was also mentioned at a recent dialogue with University Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students following complaints of high fares for air travel from Peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak.
“Looking at the performance so far by Sarawak, I in principle agree with the setting up of this airline company. Premier Abang Jo has known me for a long time, he knows how to persuade me to agree by giving a short speech and with one topic so I got jammed,” he said in a light manner to respond to the speech made earlier by the Premier.
Anwar said that he has high hopes that the Sarawak government, with its good performance, can manage its own boutique airline and he stressed that past experiences showed that running an airline company is not easy.
He also said it has been proven that air fares to Sabah and Sarawak are high, and that Transport Minister Anthony Loke has conducted several negotiations with existing airline companies to reduce the cost in the spirit of unity and spirit of ties between state and federal governments.
According to him, there will be announcements by him tomorrow (April 18) regarding the reduction of air fares.
On a related matter, Anwar also had good words for the state government as Sarawak is now ahead in many areas compared to other states in Malaysia.
“I have mentioned in Parliament that, in terms of electric vehicles, Sarawak is moving ahead. In terms of hydrogen and gas, they are also ahead. I thank Premier Abang Jo for his leadership and his team who should be the example on managing the state.
“Many state governments, due to weak management, burden not only the federal government but also the people,” he said.
In a speech earlier, Abang Johari said Sarawak hopes to be able to stabilise the price of airfares with the establishment of its own boutique airline.
He said Sarawak, with many tourism attractions to offer, relied on airlines to bring in visitors to the state.
“The price of airfares to Kuching is too expensive where an air ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Kuching is almost similar to a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong.
“This is why the Sarawak government is ready to establish its own boutique airline and I hope our Prime Minister can approve this,” he said.
He added that the state government was ready to invest in a small airline company to start an airline that would serve as a facility to bring in more tourists to Sarawak.
Previously, Abang Johari had announced that the proposed state-owned boutique airline would not be profit-motivated as it is geared towards facilitating tourist arrivals into the state.
He said as the boutique airline would be owned by Sarawak, the state would have its own model to set up the airline without following other airlines such as Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia.
Among those present were Deputy Premiers Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, and UJ Property Management Sdn Bhd chairman Dato Othman Semail.