TAWAU: The Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has been asked to explain what they have done to ensure the affordability of air fares in the country, especially for flights between the Borneo States and Peninsular.
The commission should also make it clear to the public what should be the ceiling prices for air tickets so as not to burden consumers, Chan Foong Hin, the DAP Sabah Secretary said.
He took Mavcom to task and commented on the recent spat between Bung Mokhtar, the UMNO Member of Parliament for Kinabatangan and Air Asia, the budget airline, which highlighted the price issues for air fares.
“Instead of starting a Twitter war with a certain airline chairman, or making political mileage out of a populist move, the politicians should address the issue in a more comprehensive way,” he said in a statement.
“By right, Mavcom is the government body to monitor air fares so as not to burden consumers especially during the peak periods such as school holidays and festive seasons,” said Chan, who is also Sri Tanjong Assemblyman.
Chan pointed out that following the passage of the Mavcom (Amendment) Bill 2017 in October, the legislation effects the commission to impose a financial penalty, and to impose charges on passengers at airports for regulatory services.
The bill proposes a maximum regulatory charge of RM1 on passengers at each airport to ensure the economic and safety aspects of passengers are met by airlines.
It also enables the commission to issue guidelines, circulars, directives, practice notes or notices to facilitate the implementation of good practices in a shorter time frame.
“So, please tell us what does Mavcom think about the affordability issue of air fares prices. There are always suggestions that the commission should set ceiling prices for air tickets so as not to burden consumers.
“I would like to know, what is the ceiling price for instance, from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur, and from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu. My personal view is, the average one way ticket from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur should not be more than RM300, and from Tawau to Kota Kinabalu should not be more than RM150, would deem to be affordable.”
In addition, Chan would like to propose for the introduction of Student Pass, which offers discount and facilitate students to fly. He said, a lot of students from Sabah and Sarawak are studuying in Peninsular.
For those come from poor family backgrounds, they always find it too expensive to return home, especially once a year during the festive season. The air fares increase extensively during the festive seasons and school holidays.