DAP demands stop to channel maintenance recovery charges for ports

Aerial shot of Kuching Port.

KUCHING: DAP today called for an immediate halt to the implementation of the channel maintenance recovery charges.

The charges are for maintenance of a new channel.

The opposition party’s state chief Chong Chieng Jen said the charges are for a channel that “has not even been built”.

He described the situation akin to “a purchaser of an apartment unit asked to pay for maintenance charges when the construction of the apartment has not even commenced”.

The collection of the charges began on June 1.

“KPA (Kuching Port Authority) is collecting maintenance charges in advance for something that has not existed.

“This is daylight robbery,” he said in a media conference at his party headquarters in Kuching.

He said the new charges would increase the port charges for a container by some 23%.

The charges were supposed to be implemented on June 1 last year but former chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem ordered it postponed on the grounds that the deepening project for the channel has not commenced and thus technically no channel to maintain.

The other reasons were that “the economy was not doing well” and high costs of transport in Sarawak.

“These reasons are as valid as they were one year ago,” Chong said.

In the channel maintenance recovery charges, the charge for a 20-foot container is RM36.25 to be levied to the current port charge, a 40-foot container RM72.50 while loose cargoes are charged RM1 per ton.

Currently, the port charge for a 20-foot container is RM156.25.

Chong said with the additional RM36.25 channel maintenance recovery charge, the port charge for the 20-foot container had increased by 23%. – dayakdaily.com