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By Brad Rantayy
MIRI, Jan 17: Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau has urged the Sarawak government to also look at providing fuel subsidy for the rural population in areas without proper road access.
While he applauded and support the state Transport Ministry’s initiative to provide fuel subsidy to public transport service operators, he reminded that those in the interiors are depending on privately-owned four-wheel drive vehicles as means of transportation.
“The state government not only need to look at the need of the cities or town transport service providers, but also the need of rural population who have no alternative but to depend very much on private four-wheel drive vehicles as means to move in and out of their longhouses located far deep in the interiors with connection only by dirt logging road,” he said.
Dennis commended the fuel subsidy as a good initiative to help the people but suggested that to ensure effectiveness of the programme, the state needed to set up the right mechanism to ensure those in need received their subsidies.
He supported the ministry setting up a state transport council but suggested that at least two lawmakers representing the rural constituencies are part of the set up.
Dennis opined that many people (households) in the urban areas owned vehicles and less dependent on public transport. The emergence of e-hailing services with competitive rate have also affected public transport service providers.
“With less passengers public transport such as buses and even express boats are affected but that doesn’t mean that public transportation is not needed today or in time to come.
“Therefore the state government must do all it could to assist these genuine private companies who have been in operations for years be it bus operators or express boats to stay afloat in this challenging times,” he said. — DayakDaily