Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Sabah school bus operators seek fuel subsidy: Chua


Tawau Member of Parliament Datuk Chua Soon Bui has called on the Government to immediately look into the present fuel subsidy scheme for school buses in Sabah, which she said is unfair to some of the operators. Speaking at the recent 2009 Budget consultation presided by Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya last Thursday, Chua said she received numerous complaints from some school bus operators in Tawau who complained that till to date their applications for the fuel subsidy scheme have not been approved by the relevant authorities. She was also made to understand that the fuel subsidy scheme only covers those school buses using petrol and not diesel. This has thus forced this group of unsubsidized bus operators to increase their bus fares recently, following the recent fuel price increase in order to stay afloat. This has inevitably affected those parents who engaged this particular group of school bus operators to send their children to school as most of them are from the middle to lower income families. “Some of them (the parents) are paying as much as RM100 per month per child and this is quite a burden for them, especially in this trying time,” she said. She thus hoped the Government could immediately look into the matter and to provide a more encompassing fuel subsidy to school bus operators in Sabah, for both petrol and diesel school buses. Chua also urged the Government to consider standardizing the Mayang (Masyarakat Penyayang or Caring Society) allocation under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, for the underprivileged and needy groups in Sabah, including the single parents, the disabled and the elderly people. Currently there is a difference of about RM200 between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah under the scheme. She also hoped the Government could provide assistance in homestead farming program to the groups, so that they could better deal with the rising food bills. Meanwhile, at the briefing for the Mid-term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Chua urged Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz who also heads the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to look into the severe congestion at the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Building which is under capacity and could no longer meet the demand of increasing number of foreign visitors coming into Tawau. She highlighted that in a day, several thousands of visitors and foreign workers are coming into Tawau through the ferry terminal and the limited space and service counters at the CIQ Building had caused a lot of inconvenience to these people. She stressed that it is time to upgrade and expand the existing CIQ Building to better meet the increasing demand brought about by the recent oil palm plantation boom in neighbouring Kalimantan. The Director general of the EPU,’ Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob, has promised to relocate, the CIQ Building under the 10th Malaysia Plan.