The recent launch of the free flight tickets by the LCC AirAsia in Malaysia for routes between Sabah and Sarawak and the mainland peninsula saw the Prime Minister Mr Razak participating in the launch event of his dream scheme of 1 Malaysia Integration Programme. The PM said that he was drawn to the event by the fact that this offer will further strengthen the case of national integration of the country.
While this can be a single event, the significance of the event lies in the role played by the private airliners in the cause of national integration and the extent of cooperation extended by the government to such moves. While it is true that the transportation links to different parts of the country play a vital role in the process of economic development and growth, these also help in speeding up the process of national integration since these facilitate the movement of people to and from every part of the country. In the countries where there are a number of islands or other geographical constraints or limitations that prevent easy access from other regions, lack of proper transportation facilities can lead to feeling of alienation in the people living in these regions. Since aviation is one of the better ways of connecting these regions and it also helps in speeding connectivity and process of national integration, the offers of cheapest air tickets are an encouragement to people to travel on these routes.
This incident shows that with the government commitment, there can be a meaningful cooperation between the private airlines and the government aimed for the good of the nation.