Now Everyone Can Cry
Picking up yesterday's newspapers while I was on travelling I read some very interesting articles. Even the Traxx FM was talking about it. Control on blogs and Internet media.
The Star Online 1 Aug Says: "Zam: Some control on Net media needed"
“We need to have a similar form of control over Internet media and blogs, as the medium is used to spread unfounded allegations that pose a threat to national security and racial unity,” he added. Zainuddin said he supported Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Fu Ah Kiow’s statement that there should be some form of control over sensitive issues to protect national security. He said some websites and blogs had touched on Islam and Malay rights, which threatened harmony in multi-racial Malaysia. If left uncontrolled, the medium could be used as a tool to disturb the peace and stability in the country. “It is not our intention to curb freedom of speech. It is all right to present views but it is not acceptable if the content is instigative in nature,” he added. “We have come across cases and stories that are posted based on hearsay. Some of the comments and arguments are baseless,” he noted. Zainuddin said the Government had no intention of jailing those who write about racial issues in blogs. “We will not stop bloggers and Internet media operators from expressing their views, as long as the views are presented in an ethical manner,” he added.
And today's news on The Star (2nd Aug 2006 issue), the front page reminded bloggers just that. The Prime Minister has issued a warning – those who spread untruths and slander on the Internet will face the law. If information in blogs, websites and online portals were incorrect, bordered on slander, caused disturbance or compelled the public to lose faith in the nation’s economic policies, their authors would be detained for investigation, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. So bloggers - be careful as Pak lah has stated his view on this.
A Moment of Madness
Reading about the air fare hike while boarding a plane after a tiring journey sometimes can trigger off some moment of madness. I would not do that former YB Lily's "This is Too Much!" routine. Instead I said "At least there is Air Asia that will save us!" That's what I thought anyway :)
Someone requested me to assist in getting a ticket for the Kuching to Sibu flight. The person has no Internet connection requested for a flight from Kuching to Sibu on 2 Aug 2006 on Air Asia. The usual RM1.99 price tag would not be available for those who want a bargain especially if anyone wants to make last minute purchases. Furthermore the 1st of August marks the rationalisation of Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia/Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) flights in Sarawak - I was informed there were only four flights to and fro Sibu with MAS having two flights and Air Asia also having two flights. So a confident believer in the Air Asia's reasonable pricing I approached a travel agency to pick up the tickets.
On the screen, the travel agent showed me, the only fare available for Air Asia at that time was for RM49.99 - one way from Kuching to Sibu. So I said to myself, 'That can't be too bad'.
Boy was I wrong - she mentioned about Airport Tax which was RM40.00 (which was alright for me) and their service charge was RM20. The Service Charge part made me blew my top. The amount for a 35 minutes trip from Kuching to Sibu would cost RM49.99+RM40.00+RM20.00= RM110.00. Malaysian Airlines was also charging almost the same amount at RM117.00 (RM72 fare + RM45 Airport Tax). The point I am making in this blog today is that [one] Air Asia should not be charging that much for the Kuching - Sibu Sector [two] the travel agent should not be charging so much to the point that they destroy the only thing that makes Air Asia flights affordable compared to MAS. Whatever the amount that comes out is still expensive for the Kuching - Sibu trip. Try booking for flights one month from now (for the Kuching - Sibu Sector) that, say for 2nd of September 2006 (check on Air Asia Website), the only flight fare available will be for RM59.99. Top that up with the taxes, it will amost be the same with Malaysian Airlines - and MAS will outdo Air Asia by providing that extra service of having Seat Numbers on their tickets. For that small difference I would have adviced my friend to use MAS!..... Anyway she opted for the Kuching - Sibu Express Boat which would cost half the price and just as comfortable. Surprise, surprise - when I sent her to the Express Wharf the boat was almost full. It would be half full on weekdays - but I guess the unpredictable flights available and also the undeterminable prices of the air tickets made travellers opt for an alternative. I would say the Express Boat is the wiser choice for the trip (over the Express Bus) as it takes less than five hours and it will take you right smack into the center of Sibu Town.
Click on the picture above to find out how this person feels about Air Asia (its not related to my blog but the feeling is mutual)
So am I disappointed with Air Asia? Yes - especially for the Kuching-Sibu Sector pricing. It goes against Air Asia's theme of 'Now Everyone Can Fly'. MAS slogan sounds reasonable with 'Going Beyond Expectations' and they deliver! I hope the Air Asia guys go back to the drawing board as I find that I am slowly coming out with a 'jingle' that is not so nice - but after checking Zam's List and Pak Lah's List of what A Blog Should Not Be, it is not a threat to national security. Here goes:
Air Asia says 'Now Everyone Can Fly'
Air tickets so cheap its worth a try
Through the Internet You Can Buy
MAS shook their heads 'My oh My'
That Datuk Tony Fernandez fella, he's so Sly
And Idris Jala's plans and sights are only set on profitable routes like Dubai
What will happen to the folks from the rumahpanjai?
As they look up at the planes that pass by
I guess they will stick to using the sungai
When they want to practice thier adventurous spirit of 'berjalai'
Nothing much they can do except ask 'Why or Why?'
Internet access in the rural is as good as Nadai
Our planners and economists never fail to stupefy
Now that the price of oil goes up high
They say prices of goods and services wouldn't hurt a fry
Everyone now knows that its a lie
I can't even afford a drink of Mai Tai
Nor a plate of imported Apple Pie
So Datuk Tony Fernandez I hope you are still our guy
Help make the Internetless folks dream of taking to the sky
So that Air Asia is truly for Malaysians and not only orang ribai
We can ill afford the various cukai
Now as our purse and wallets slowly go Dry
We hope we wouldn't have to say, Air Asia, Now everyone can Cry