A couple of Sarawak Barisan Nasional lawmakers have urged Putrajaya to reconsider the impending airport tax hike and stop its implementation, Borneo Post Online reported today.
According to the report, Batu Danau Assemblyman Paulus Palu Gumbang said air travellers in the state were already heavily burdened with expensive domestic travel, especially those in Limbang and Lawas, who had few alternatives to reach other parts of the state as it was time consuming.
He said air travellers in the two areas had already been affected by the current RM50 fuel surcharge and the current RM9 airport tax, known as the Passenger Service Charge (PSC).
“Air fares on domestic travel, especially on rural air services are already very expensive and the increase in PSC makes it from bad to worse,” he said.
Paulus said in the interest of Sabahans and Sarawakians, the Federal Government should reconsider the hike.
He said most people in the rural areas travelled by air out of necessity and not because they could afford the luxury of flying, adding this was especially the case for those in Limbang, where his Batu Danau constituency is located.
Another Sarawakian leader, Assistant Minister of Welfare and Community Well-being Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail, also asked Putrajaya to reconsider the decision, especially for domestic sector flights.
“It will burden the low-income group in Sarawak. Particularly affected are those in Limbang and Lawas who have not much alternative to travel to other parts of Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia,” the Bukit Kota assemblyman said.
Yesterday, The Sun reported that PSC was set to be increased in all airports in the country soon.
The report said the new PSC rates would affect domestic and international categories, as well as a new “Asean” category. According to aviation sources, the new PSC charges will be RM11 for domestic flights, RM73 for international flights outside of Asean, and RM35 for flights to Asean countries.
The new PSC rates were reportedly approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday and Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai had confirmed that the PSC would be effective on January 1 next year.
FMT Reporters Online