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Higher cost of flying

  • No one will oppose to the idea of boosting security, but transferring the cost to passengers is outright unacceptable.

Sin Chew Daily

Just as the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) has just announced the increase of Passenger Service Charge (PSC) for klia2 with effect from January next year, there are talks the government will be introducing Advance Passenger Screening System (APSS) that may require the passengers to pay additional RM35 anti-terror fee.

Such developments have sparked the discontent of the travel industry as well as travelers who question the rationality of increasing the PSC and charging additional RM35 for boosting security at airports.

According to Mavcom's statement, PSC for all international flights from klia2, with the exception of flights to Asean destinations, will be increased from RM50 to RM73 with effect from January 1 next year to be the same as that charged at KLIA.

The question is, the facilities at klia2 and KLIA are not the same and the conveniences and services provided are of different quality. It is therefore unfair to charge the same amount of PSC for these two airports.

While increasing the PSC at klia2, the Mavcom must nevertheless ensure that facilities and services at klia2 will be upgraded to meet the rising expectations of passengers.

The government has repeatedly claimed that the RM73 PSC is among the cheapest in the world, but statistics show that in this region alone, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia are charging lower airport taxes than Malaysia.

Higher airport tax means passengers will have to bear a higher cost of traveling and this will invariably add to their financial burden.

As if that is not enough, we now have an additional RM35 anti-terror fee to pay in order to fly out of the country. Indeed, the government should be commended for introducing APSS to protect the country from unwanted elements and terrorist threats. Nevertheless, this is very much the government's duty and it is therefore unreasonable to get passengers to foot the bill of fighting terrorism.

Such systems have been in operation elsewhere in the world, with the cost basically borne by the respective governments, supplemented probably with a US$1 nominal fee on passengers, not the entire cost.

No one will oppose to the idea of boosting security, but transferring the cost to passengers is outright unacceptable. It is utterly important for the authorities to consult the public and the industry before putting this measure into implementation.

Tourism is a major contributor to the country's economy, and the additional charges will hurt the industry and the overall economy.

 

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