27 May 2019
The exodus of Malaysians from cities to their hometowns in conjunction with the festive season has begun.
Apart from the masses in the Klang Valley, among the earliest to make the trip home are some 400,000 teachers nationwide following the mid-year school break from Friday to June 9 for Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
School holidays for other states began on Saturday and will end on June 10.
Muslims in the country are expected to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri on June 5, while the Kaamatan celebration in Sabah falls on May 30, followed by the Gawai Dayak festival in Sarawak on June 1.
Checks by the New Straits Times showed that until yesterday, traffic flow on major highways was smooth.
PLUS Malaysia Bhd (PLUS) is expecting an 11 per cent increase in the number of motorists on its highways during the long holiday period this year, compared with last year.
“Last year, PLUS recorded 1.8 million vehicles a day on its expressways during the Hari Raya holiday period.
“This year, we anticipate it to increase to two million vehicles,” PLUS managing director Datuk Azman Ismail told NST.
PLUS is expecting an 18 per cent increase in vehicles on the roads during the festive season, from 1.7 million on normal days.
Azman said PLUS was prepared to assist motorists, thanks to more than 5,000 personnel from PLUSRonda first-aid responder teams, the Road Transport Department as well as police.
“PLUS will deploy maintenance teams and additional support vehicles to ensure that highway users experience a pleasant and safe journey this festive season.”
Anih Bhd projected a 65 per cent increase in vehicles travelling on the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway during the festive season.
The highway concessionaire expects an increase of up to 57 per cent in vehicles on the East Coast Expressway, with 76,693 cars travelling daily.
Air travel is also expected to see a surge. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said it was expecting nearly 100,000 passengers daily at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and its second terminal, klia2, during the Hari Raya break.
MAHB chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin said the passenger movement marked a three per cent increase in each terminal compared with the same period last year.
Local airlines operating at both terminals, he said, had added more than 500 flights for the festive season to cater to the increase in domestic and international passengers.
“All critical touchpoints and facilities, such as traffic management, parking, check-in counters, security checkpoints, Immigration and Customs counters, washrooms, Aerotrains and baggage reclaim, have been put on high alert with additional manpower.
“Last Friday, we announced the reconfiguration of the arrival Customs lane at KLIA’s main terminal, where we added six lanes to ease congestion during periods such as this.
“The same initiative will be implemented at klia2 beginning June 1.”
Raja Azmi urged passengers to arrive at the airports early to prevent late boarding or missed flights.
He said passengers should arrive three or four hours before the scheduled departure time.
“They should use the MYairports mobile app to plan their journey to the airport.
“The app is available on Google Playstore for Android and App Store. It can help passengers find a faster way to reach boarding gates.”
He said MAHB provided 30 minutes of free parking at the 5,000-bay long-term car park to those who needed to pick up passengers.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd, meanwhile, said there were 180,914 train tickets to various destinations in the peninsular available for Hari Raya holidays.
Its corporate communications head, Ahmad ‘Asri Khalbi, said out of 559,780 train tickets for travel dates between May 1 and June 16, 379,666 tickets had been sold.
“Those wishing to travel a day or two before and after Hari Raya should buy their tickets early.”
He said 26,404 electric train service (ETS) tickets for peak dates between May 24 and May 30 were still available, while there were 11,986 KTM Intercity tickets up for sale for the same period.
He said for dates between May 31 and June 9, there were 19,624 (ETS) and 13,830 (KTM Intercity) tickets available.