‘Opening rural air services to other airlines will boost tourism, businesses’

Dr Hii Sui Cheng

SIBU: Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s recent announcement that several rural air services in Sarawak will be opened to other airlines besides MASwings starting next year augurs well for Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI).

Its president Dr Hii Sui Cheng when commenting on Loke’s statement believed that this move will certainly help boost tourism and businesses in general.

Loke had said the matter had been discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during a meeting in Kuching on Friday, adding that the Ministry of Transport would study Abang Johari’s request for a flight from Kuching to Jakarta and Australia and also from Sibu to China.

On the routes requested, Hii said: “Very good to hear this news. On behalf of SCCCI and Sibu residents, I thank the minister for agreeing to have other airlines in addition to MASwings to fly Sibu-Kota Kinabalu sector as well as planning to have a flight connecting Sibu to a destination in China.

“Both these initiatives will be good for tourism and businesses. I hope AirAsia and other airlines will grab the opportunity to do so.

“The flight to a destination in China (hopefully in Fujian) will facilitate the growth of trade as Sibu moves towards creating more industrial and agricultural activities on sites already allocated and in the process of being allocated by government,” Hii added.

“With the help of the Sarawak government and collaboration with its federal counterpart, the central region of Sarawak should see better days ahead,” he said.

On a separate matter, Hii listed out several initiatives carried out by SCCCI namely: setting up an entrepreneur hub to nurture more entrepreneurs to become successful businessmen and industrialists; obtaining approval from Sarawak government through Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development (MIED) for a piece of industrial land for SMEs; and in the process of applying for agriculture land from Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas for cultivation of crops for the export market as well as to meet local demand.

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“With the fruition of these initiatives, SCCCI and other regional business chambers namely Dewan Usahawan Bumiputera Sarawak (DUBS) and Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), should concentrate on remaining works such as identifying an industrial partner to set up factory to process agricultural crops for export as well as seeking collaboration with local tertiary institutions to conduct industrial research at solving problems. All the above are important parts to a complete zigsaw,” he pointed out.