5 April 2022

Why was Covid-19 test service at airport shut down?
Why was Covid-19 test service at airport shut down?

– From A Disappointed Malaysian

After two years, April 1, 2022 was a date almost all Malaysians had been looking forward to – being able to fly out of the country and return home without the need to quarantine.

Like any travel junkie, I booked my flight ticket to Bangkok in advance to visit my family there on the first day of the border reopening.

I had great expectations that it was not an April Fools’ joke and that there would not be any hiccups on the day since it was the first day of the border reopening.

So, I reached klia2 all excited four hours before my flight. After having my breakfast at the food court, I had some time to walk around.

It was disappointing to see that many shops had shut. There were not many choices of places to eat too. On my way up to the departure hall – I noticed a shop lot unit in KL Gateway (the mall attached to klia2) bearing the sign Optimax crowded with people.

Like any other curious person, I went closer to see if there was a sale on glasses.

Instead, I saw that they were carrying out RTK-Antigen (RTK-Ag) tests there. I took the opportunity to enquire since I will need one when I return.

They were charging RM80 per person which I thought was quite reasonable compared with the RM100 which Malaysians have to pay at the arrival area.

Cost is a major factor for me, as I will be making more trips to visit my family there. I will also need to spend for tests upon arrival in Bangkok.

It got me thinking that if there were more parties providing the service at the airport, then maybe the price could be reduced further and it will benefit more travellers like me. It will also encourage more people to travel when such new “practices” are made affordable.

However, my excitement did not last long because when I returned from Bangkok today, I found that the place offering the cheaper option for RTK-Ag tests had been shut. I asked an airport staff about the testing station and he said they were told to cease operations.

I have a question which I wish to address to all relevant authorities, from the health minister to the airport management, and also the airlines. How is this going to help the people, or encourage them to travel?

Didn’t the health ministry assure us that there will be no monopoly of Covid-19 screening services at airports? What happened to that assurance?

Not everyone travels for leisure, there is a very big number of budget travellers like me who only travel because we have to. I plan my travels so I get good deals. I buy flight tickets during sales and after much comparison.

It is things like this that gets the people really disgruntled with the government. This kind of monopoly has to stop. Is this how Keluarga Malaysia is treated?

A Disappointed Malaysian is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

Source: www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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