Govt to announce routes after negotiation successful: CM

By TANIA LAM & NATASHA JEE

KUCHING: What looks certain is that the state will have its own airlines.

Why the certainty is so – because the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg did not hesitate when asked by reporters what the flight destinations will be once the state has its own airline.

He could have said it was too premature to be talking about destinations and routes. Or he could have said anything, yes, literally anything, to sidestep their question, but he didn’t.

Instead, his response was immediate, auto-like, in fact: “I will let you know when the time comes.”

Such simple, straightforward reply can only mean one thing – the chief minister is confident the state will have its own airline in good time.

The chief minister was met by reporters after visiting the Raya open house of Rural Electricity Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi at Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka (DBP) in Petra Jaya near here yesterday.

Last Wednesday, Abang Johari spoke of “two options”.

“One option is for us to have our own private airline and there is a possibility we have a charter airline.

“And (the other option is) we are also negotiating with the Federal government to take over MASwings,” he had said.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Art, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the proposal is not finalised yet and he could not reveal further.

“But we are working very hard to get more connectivity, whether with China, Indonesia or Singapore. There will be some good news to be announced,” he said.

He believed that with better connectivity Sarawak will record more tourist arrivals.

Also present at the Hari Raya open house was Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.