ISKANDAR PUTERI, April 16 — Airlines and stakeholders are currently finalising discussions regarding the best methods or measures to reduce prices for flights from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak, which have been rising of late due to the festive season.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the discussion, which involved three airlines, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo, the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), had begun last Thursday, and is expected to be finalised soon.

“We consider the complaints that we’ve heard. Firstly, we verify the authenticity of the complaint specifically. Second, we ask airlines, whether you want to or not, you have to (reduce ticket prices) because it’s the government’s aspiration to lower prices in the future.

“We understand because of war, the crisis between Russia and Ukraine has caused fares, oil prices to spike drastically. But we also have to view it from the Malaysian context. We understand Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsula, there’s only one mode of transport, which is flying,” he told reporters after a breaking of fast event with the media at Forest City Golf Resort here tonight.

Therefore, he said a complete report about the discussion will be made and presented to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“The prime minister is always concerned and instructed me to look for practical methods, whatever way possible….so I feel we are called to review all the proposed formulas.

“Airlines have to look for a method to increase frequency, how, and where to find cancel flights where...all needs to be viewed from a total point of requires good coordination between each other,” he said.

According to Wee, the results of the discussion will be announced by the prime minister in a few days’ time.

Media outlets had earlier reported that recent checks on commercial airline websites revealed that fares had risen till RM2,000 (for return flight), a 566 per cent increase, coinciding with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration period (April 29 till May 8).

On the price of express bus tickets that was said to have also risen during Aidilfitri season, he said the government has not allowed any express bus operator to take advantage by increasing fares drastically especially during festive seasons.

He said whatever increases, whether prices or frequency of trips, require applications to the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) before being brought to his ministry for consideration, and then the best decision would be made taking into consideration the interests of all parties, especially consumers.

“We understand during festive seasons usually we allow a rise in prices, but not to an amount that will burden the people, because the usual practice is a rise of around 10 per cent from normal prices for every festive season.

“We realise what bus operators are going through and the reasons behind the price hike, but we also understand and sympathise and cannot let the people be burdened by these increases.

“As such, the Transport Ministry will make the best decision to protect all parties, including consumers, and the matter will be discussed with stakeholders, that’s how we’ve been doing it all the while,” he said.

Wee said, however, he had not received any specific complaint regarding drastic price hikes and urged the public to submit complaints to relevant authorities if such situations occur. — Bernama