Normal prices for air tickets

PUTRAJAYA: Flight ticket prices should return to normal as airlines have been allowed to operate at full passenger capacity.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government was looking into the issue of expensive air tickets especially for domestic flights between Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

“In the beginning, the air ticket prices were high due to the government-issued directive that airlines cannot operate with full seating capacity due to social distancing of passengers on board.

“But we have now allowed airlines to operate at full passenger capacity, with no more social distancing. Therefore, the special ministerial meeting that coordinates the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) is of the opinion that ticket prices should return to the original prices as before the MCO,” he said.

He said this at a press conference on the development of the recovery movement control order (RMCO) yesterday.

Ismail Sabri said the government has also asked the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) to discuss with airlines to provide special ticket prices to teachers, pupils and students of institutions of higher learning (HEIs) who will be resuming their studies.

This follows the reopening of schools which will begin in stages from July 15 and HEIs later.

“The transport ministry has been asked to engage with airline companies to find a solution to this,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican would present a proposal at the ministerial meeting to allow contact training for team sports such as football and martial arts.

The youth and sports ministry is conducting engagements with sports industry players from time to time, with the ministry today conducting engagements with operators of football and futsal commercial courts and academies.

“The decision to allow contact sports activities depends on the advice of the National Security Council and the health ministry,” he said.

In the meantime, Ismail Sabri said 16 individuals were detained for defying RMCO directives last Thursday, of whom two were remanded, and the rest slapped with compound notices.

“All of them were nabbed for violating the RMCO’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) including failing to register and taking customers’ body temperatures,” he said.

Besides, from May 1 until yesterday, 1,215 illegal immigrants and 215 smuggling agents (tekong) have been arrested for attempting to enter the country’s borders illegally, especially via hidden passages (lorong-lorong tikus), he said, adding that 80 people were also detained on suspicion of smuggling and 39 vessels seized under ‘Ops Benteng’.

The police also arrested nine foreigners at an ‘Ops Benteng’ roadblock for immigration offences.

“The government will take stern action against anyone attempting to cross the border illegally and will not compromise with those involved in the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the country,” he added. – Bernama