Malaysian scholars complain after govt gives them plane tickets costing $5500

Malaysian scholars complain after govt gives them plane tickets costing $5500

PETALING JAYA - A price tag of RM15,000 (S$5500) for a plane ticket on the economy class from Poland to Kuala Lumpur is too much, say travel agents.

Travel agents in Malaysia agreed that such tickets were overpriced.

"RM15,000 can be used to pay for a business class plane ticket. It is overpriced for an economy class ticket," said Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun, a former president of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA).

He was responding to claims by several Public Service Department (PSD) scholars that PSD might have bought overpriced tickets for them on their flight back to Malaysia.

One scholar, in a letter to The Star, claimed that after completing their studies in Poland, they were given one-way economy class tickets back home that cost the department over RM15,000 for each ticket.

The scholar, who chose to remain anonymous, also claimed that a return ticket for the same route and airline would only cost around RM4,000 if bought on a personal basis.

"I find this an appalling waste of taxpayers' money," claimed the scholar from Terengganu.

Other letters to The Star had since called for an audit into the tickets bought by PSD.

Mohd Khalid said a normal return ticket to Europe on economy class would cost about RM5,000 each, adding that this could even be as low as RM3,000 if it was bought during a promotion.

"If the PSD had bought the tickets from a travel agent, then perhaps the travel agent imposed an administration fee. But even if all the charges were taken into account, the total amount is very high," he said.

Another travel agency operator, known only as Lee, said it was impossible for an economy class ticket from Europe to Malaysia to be so expensive.

"That price range is possible if it was for the business class. But in this case, there is definitely something wrong," he said.

A check on several airlines that fly from Warsaw, Poland, to Kuala Lumpur also showed that one-way economy class tickets range between RM2,800 and RM9,900.

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