Posted on 18 November 2011 - 05:28amKUCHING (Nov 17, 2011): The recent MAS-AirAsia share swap joint agreement has a negative impact on Sarawak and the tourism sector, Assistant Minister of Tourism Datuk Talip Zulpilip told the state assembly today.
“The lack of public information of future plans between MAS and AirAsia has also created anxiety among industry players and many Sarawakians,” he said, adding that it has caused concerns and speculations about the rationalisation.
“Further, of late, Sarawak has experienced cancellation of flights and this has caused inconvenience to the public,” Talip said when replying to questions from Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Bukit Assek) during the question and answer session at the assembly.
He said the termination of Firefly’s operations from Kuala Lumpur-Kuching-Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru-Kuching-Johor Baru, since Oct 31, has, undoubtedly, caused a vacuum.
“The state has communicated our concerns and displeasures to the federal government on the lack of communication and consultation on the share swap and the termination of Firefly service,” Talip said.
He said the abrupt cancellation of Firefly's service, after the announcement of the share swap collaboration between MAS and AirAsia, did not augur well for the state.
Talip also said that the state government has initiated dialogues and meeting to seek opportunities for foreign airlines to operate into Sarawak.
“The state government, through Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB), has offered attractive incentives such as three years free landing and parking frees and marketing support for the new airlines.
“The state has no intention to start its own airlines, but nevertheless, it remains an option,” he said, adding that the state administration is also looking at various other options, including the positioning of MasWing as a regional airlines to service Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and the BIMP-EAGA region.
He said a special delegation, led by the Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg, to the federal authorities will convey the state’s intention on the matter.