SEA Games travel arrangements still very much in the balance

MUCH has been debated about flying direct to Naypyitaw but taking a bus from Yangon appears to be the more sensible choice for the Malaysian contingent heading to next month’s Myanmar Sea Games.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said chartering a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Naypyitaw, where the majority of sports will be held, would be an impractical and costly move.

“It would cost roughly RM1,500 per head to charter a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Naypyitaw and we would have to have at least 100 people on board,” said Kok Chi.

“Flying from Kuala Lumpur to Yangon would only cost RM640 while the bus transfer to Naypyitaw is provided free-of-charge by the organisers as it is considered part of the internal transportation.

“The problem is that not all our athletes are leaving and returning at the same time and even if we had less people on the (chartered) plane we would still be charged for a 100 people.

“We have to pay Myanmar RM160 for the lodging of our athletes per day at the Sea Games. If we were to wait till we had 100 people to fly (returning to KL), the costs of accommodation would increase, so it is double jeopardy for us.

“It would also be a burden on our category ‘B’ athletes who have to pay for themselves.

“In certain sports where some of the athletes are category ‘A’ and some are ‘B’ they have decided to go to Yangon to stay together as a group. This has helped save some of the government’s money.”

The majority of category ‘A’ athletes, whose expenses are fully covered by the National Sports Council (NSC), will fly from KL to Bangkok and then to Naypyitaw via the Thai national carrier.

Category ‘B’ athletes, who make up approximately a quarter of the 579-strong contingent, will have their expenses reimbursed if their performances meet a set criteria at the Games.

Kok Chi added that the athletes’ travel schedules have been arranged to give them ample time to recover and acclimatise once they reach Naypyitaw. The bus trip from Yangon to Naypyitaw takes six hours.

Source: New Straits Times

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