Today Star…Brunei transit for travellers
By STEPHEN THEN
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Travellers from Brunei have been known to cross into Sarawak to fly elsewhere because of the currency exchange rate.
These days, desperate travellers from Sarawak are coming here by land and using exit points in Brunei to get to their intended destinations in Malaysia.
It is not a cheap journey for these travellers, who are affected by the on-going air connection woes in northern Sarawak.
For example, Sarawakians who want to go to Labuan, but cannot do so due to the grounding of Fokker-50 aircrafts in Miri, have to go to Brunei to fly to Labuan or use speedboats from ports in the sultanate.
Those in Miri who want to go to Limbang and affected by the same flight problems use the land route by cutting through the two Brunei border checkpoints.
A three-hour taxi ride here from Miri costs at least RM280.
Taxi driver Ling Tek Siong told The Star he received a call at 3.45am from an offshore worker in Miri who was desperate to go to Labuan Island.
The flights from Miri to Labuan are affected by the air-connection problems.
This man wanted me to pick him up at 5am and send him to Brunei so that he could get a speedboat from Muara (port in Brunei) to Labuan, he said.
Malaysian taxis are only allowed up to the Brunei immigration complex and not beyond. From there, travellers must use Brunei-registered taxis or vehicles to reach their destination.
Fokker flights to many parts of northern Sarawak and Kota Kinabalu are suspended because out of the seven Fokkers operated by Fly Asian Xpress (FAX), only one is fully functional.
The rest are affected by technical problems and undergoing urgent repairs.
FAX sources said the airline expected to get another two Fokkers flying in the next few days.
In Miri, it is learned that many passengers who want to go to other parts of the state cannot get seats on board Malaysia Airlines or AirAsia because the airlines are booked solid.
Travellers affected by the FAX woes are using these two airlines to get to destinations nearest to the ones served by the Fokkers, so that they can use land and river routes to reach their intended points.
Any experience from Forumates on this problem?