Council clarifies Ting’s allegation on renting of kiosks at bus shelter

DAP-Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon

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KUCHING, Nov 20: It is inappropriate for Democratic Action Party (DAP) Pujut chairman Dr Ting Tiong Choon to compare the rental of kiosks (actually a lock-up shop) in different locations to those stall rents and license fees in Council markets and “tamu”.

Miri City Council (MCC) said, Dr Ting should make a serious effort to check with the Council on such matters during his fact-finding process instead of putting up allegations based on hearsay or assumption which causes to cast doubts about the credibility of the Council.

“After all this programme has already carried out for more than 10 years without public objections and in fact, the general public has acknowledged the good efforts of the Council,” it said.

MCC said this in a press statement today, in clarifying the allegations and assumptions made by Dr Ting against the operation of the Kiosks at bus shelters at Miri City.

According to MCC, in response to the Council’s prior attention in 2009 of improving the existing bus sheds of which some were in the deteriorating stage as well as the building of new bus sheds along with areas under the jurisdiction of the Council, there was a proposal from a private enterprise of undertaking Bus Shelters Improvement Programme of which it included design, procure, finance, construct, operate and maintain the bus shelters at Miri entirely at their own costs and expenses.

MCC said upon completion of the bus shelters, the Council would permit the company to engage caretakers to operate and maintain those bus shelters provided with the kiosk or vending machines (not all bus shelters are provided with kiosks) so as to recover their capital investment and gain reasonable profits under this programme over a period of time.

“However, the company shall pay to Council annual rental of each bus shelter as well as any other fees and payments as required under the government regulations and Council’s By-Laws,” it added.

MCC pointed, the Council at that time had examined in depth by the relevant committees over the above proposal and after considering the Council could; (1) have a total number of 20 permanent bus shelters with proper design completed with basic facilities especially adequate lighting for the safety of bus commuters and public transportation, and (2) taking into consideration that it would take a long time for Council to reconstruct or improve existing bus shelters at its own costs and subject to fund availability within a short period, the Council thus by resolution in 2010 opted to enter an agreement with the company to undertake Bus Shelters Improvement Programme.

During that time, it said, the Government had encouraged joint development concept with private enterprise in order to save cost and reduce time-consuming of implementing development projects.

“The primary objective of the Council to proceed with the above programme was in the interest of the general public thereby bus commuters could be benefited from such programme of having bus shelters with proper shade and adequate lighting at the surrounding (for crime prevention) while waiting for bus transport.

“The kiosk is an additional feature to provide conveniences to bus commuters like drinks, titbits and so forth. It serves another purpose thereby the operators will oversee cleanliness and pay attention to the maintenance of the bus shelters,” the statement explained. –DayakDaily.