Long queue at Batang Saribas Ferry Point 

Long queues are seen on both side of Batang Saribas. The picture shows the long queue on the Pusa side.

By D’Drift Team

PUSA, June 30:  It was a rare sight but long queues were forming at both sides of the Batang Saribas Ferry Point.

Long queues are Batang Saribas Ferry Point seldom happened because the river is small and ferrying across the river takes only about 15 minutes.  With at least two ferries operating at the same time, crossing river in this part of Sarawak has always been smooth and seamless.

Today, however, motorists were kept waiting for about one hour before they were transported to the other side of the river.  Vehicles were seen queueing up to 1km long from the ferry point on each side.

To the motorists, this was bad news but to Sarimah Abdullah, 60, (picture below) who has been able to help raise her family by operating at the stall near the ferry point, long queue is good news.

Contrary to the traveling motorists, Sarimah welcomes long queue at Batang Saribas Ferry Point.

“For long queue to happen, it is quite extraordinary.  Or should I say, it never happens here,” said Sarimah to D’Drift team who was also caught in the long queue.

This enterprising woman who is selling kuih muih, local tidbits, barbecue skewers and drinks at this ferry point for the last 12 years, however, welcomed the long queue.

“It may cause inconvenience for the motorists like you but for me, it is a blessing as people like you will stop by and have a drink, buy some tidbits and spend time here.”

Sarimah explained that due to the implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO), two smaller ferries have been used to replace the usual ones because no movement was allowed then. The two small ferries are meant for emergency purposes.

The Sarawak government implemented MCO from Mar 18 to May 3 to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. On May 4, conditional MCO (CMCO) was implemented as Covid-19 cases were still rampant. CMCO ended on June 9 and from June 10 onwards, the government started the Recovery MCO to allow even more movement to gradually open the economy.

“I believe the government did not expect traffic to be so tense as until today, only these two small ferries are still being used to ply the motorists.

“They are obviously not big enough to cater for the needs as you can see, long queue is building up,”said Sarimah. — DayakDaily