Posted on 20 Apr 2023
Source of News: The Borneo Post

SIBU: Deputy Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government Michael Tiang said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii had misunderstood the purpose and the objectives of the establishment of stateowned boutique airline.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, he said the aim of the boutique airline is to provide flight connectivity for the people of Sarawak to the outside world, thus enhancing the state’s international trade and tourism industry.

“It is obvious that the development of Sarawak tourism industry and international trade depends heavily on flight connectivity.

“Therefore, I totally support our premier’s vision to have a state owned boutique airline; for Sarawak government to take the lead in investing in a boutique airline to open our sky and to connect Sarawak to the outside world,” he pointed out.

Tiang, who is also Pelawan assemblyman, noted that Dr Yii had expressed his disagreement over Sarawak government’s plan to set up a boutique airline as the latter worried that it would not be economically feasible despite the Prime Minister agreeing to the proposal.

Tiang pointed out that Sarawak depended heavily on private owned airlines to provide international routes and to connect Sarawak internationally and even to the Peninsular Malaysia.

“Every time, we are at their mercy, that they look at the proposal purely on economic feasibility.

“In other words, if it is not profitable to provide certain flight routes, Sarawak will be denied access to such routes,” he lamented.

He said Sarawak has no say because it is a private business decision.

Thus, he believed that stateowned boutique airline is part of the Sarawak government’s services and duties to the people just like Sarawak government has been subsidising bus services for public use.

“It is not economically feasible, but the government needs to subsidise to sustain bus network for people’s interest,” he said.

As an example, he said the federal government is also investing on Pan Borneo Highway without collecting tolls.

“It is not based on whether it is economically feasible or not but based on its purpose to improve Sarawak’s logistics, so we can develop Sarawak,” he stressed.

He hoped that Dr Yii would join him to promote boutique airline to Sarawak and to the world.

Tiang also said that boutique airline is part of Sarawak’s effort to develop its own routes autonomously.

“We make our decision to come up with our own routes. For example, Vietnam airlines proposed and wanted to fly from Vietnam to Kuala Lumpur and to Kuching, but the federal disallowed. So, with our own boutique airline, we can make our own decision and can partner with other airlines,” he said.

The Borneo Post

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