Oleh Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: BIMP-Eaga Business Council (BEBC) Malaysia welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to maintain the Tawau-Tarakan sector that is serviced by MASwings.
BEBC Malaysia Chairman Datuk Roselan Johar Mohamed said BEBC was relieved since there was much hue and cry when it was rumoured that the Malaysian Government wanted MASwings to only concentrate on the Rural Air Service routes.
“The Tawau-Tarakan service shall remain intact and this augurs well for the travelling public between the two cities,” he said.
Roselan received the “great news” during a meeting with MASwings Chief Executive Officer, Aminuddin Zakaria to discuss about the BIMP-Eaga Strategic Planning meeting that will held at The Hilton here from Feb 12 to 15.
“BEBC would like to thank the Federal Government for maintaining this sector because the travelling public are enriching the economy of both nations on both sides of the border.
“Travelling to Makassar is best flown from Tawau to Tarakan and connecting to Makassar.
“The old way is to fly to Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur and endure the back-flight to Makassar which seems quite ridiculous,” he said.
Roselan noted that the once popular flight to Puerto Princesa, Palawan of the Philippines was now back on the drawing board but could very well be making a come back towards the end of the second quarter of this year once certain teething problems have been resolved.
He said BEBC Malaysia extended its gratitude to the Royal Brunei Airline ‘for having had a fruitful discussion on Jan 23 to deploy Maswings’ aircrafts to fly from Bandar Seri Begawan to Balikpapan and Pontianak, Indonesia.”
“This is truly in the spirit of BIMP-Eaga that fosters mutual cooperation and support to one another,” he said.
According to Roselan, both Balikpapan and Pontianak are two of the fastest expanding Indonesian cities and those in Malaysia’s business circle must be connected with them to ride on the expansion boom.
Furthermore, PricewaterhouseCooper has predicted that Indonesia will boast the world’s fourth most powerful economy by 2050, he said.
On another note, Roselan said BEBC Malaysia hoped that the ground handling charges at the Indonesian airports can be reduced further.
On the domestic front, he said that not many people were aware MASwings is flying to Layang-Layang four times a month.
“This is a good experience to fly and stay on an island out of nowhere and enjoy quality time with the family,” he said.
As for the BIMP-Eaga Strategic Planning meeting next month, Roselan said it would gives the BEBC opportunities to meet with all strategic partners and players to discuss about the doable projects for this year and beyond.-SabahNewsToday