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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 20: Boat express operators, especially in Limbang and Lawas, have been urged to submit an application to get subsidised diesel and relaxation for skid tank (storage) usage with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP).
Deputy Minister of Transport Dato Henry Harry Jinep, in raising this, said that this will help in reducing the operating cost for express boats and also benefit the passengers, given that the people in Limbang and Lawas rely heavily on water transport services currently, apart from air services by MasWings, as their mobility is badly affected by the delayed opening of Brunei Darussalam’s border until May 31.
“Currently, the water transport services for the Limbang-Lawas sector are served by Express Ratu Pertama No 2 and Express Pertama Limbang.
“The express boat fare for one way for the sector is fixed at RM35 for adults and RM20 for children,” he informed the august House today in responding to a question from Paulus Palu Gumbang (PDP-Batu Danau).
At the moment, Harry pointed out that the Sarawak government has not provided or allocated any subsidies on express boat fares to both passengers and operators.
However, the Transport Ministry through Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) has had a dialogue with boat operators on April 29 this year, whereby they have appealed for assistance from the government to overcome their main challenges of increasing operating costs and skid tank usage.
“The Ministry and SRB will work together with KPDNHEP, Marine Department Sarawak Region and Custom Department to assist the express boat operators in relation to the application for subsidised diesel and relaxation in skid tank usage,” he assured.
On the guidelines to apply for subsidised diesel and skid tank, Harry explained that the company operating passenger boat services must obtain a Passenger Boat License from the Marine Department and District Office as well as River Transport Permit from SRB from their respective districts.
“The company or business must be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia or SSM and local government authorities, while the usage of the jetty must be approved by the Customs Department.
“In addition, applicants must own a skid-tank (for petrol storage) that is approved by the KPDNHEP Enforcement Division in the State or District.
“The company or business must also have the Wholesale/Retail License under Petroleum Development Act (PDA) as well as Retail License for Scheduled Control Items under the Supply Control Act 1961 for the retail sales of diesel,” he said.
For boat operators who apply for the subsidised diesel facility through a third party, Harry pointed out that the boat owners will be required to sign a declaration letter of boat ownership to allow a third party to apply for the facility on their part.
“Rest assured that the government will assist in this matter,” he added. — DayakDaily