By Cornelius Kadir Edison
SEBUYAU, Jan 2: The Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR Sarawak) will install railings at all ferry crossing points to prevent a recurrence of yesterday’s fatal accident at the Triso ferry point.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the move was one of the safety measures taken by the state government to ensure that vehicles do not go beyond a certain limit when waiting for the ferry.
“What is important is how do we stop it from happening. I have instructed three very important standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be enforced for the usage of ferry services
“The first one is for JKR Sarawak and Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) to build a railing where the ramp is because the car moved out of the ramp and fell into the river.
“And nobody should be inside the vehicle except for the driver when going into the ferry. The rest of the passengers must be out of the vehicle.
“There will be a guard to be stationed who will inform the vehicle whether they can go into the ferry or not.
“The guard will be empowered to stop vehicles with passengers from going into the ferry,” he told reporters here today after a discussion with JKR Sarawak and SRB upon inspecting the Triso ferry point following a fatal accident that occurred yesterday.
Masing, who is Infrastructure and Ports Development Minister said all the safety measures would be implemented immediately.
Upon checking and discussion with JKR Sarawak and SRB staff, Masing said the tragedy which took the lives of nine people yesterday was an accident.
Masing stressed that he does not want to witness the same tragedy which occurred yesterday to happen in the future.
He said the state government extended its condolences to the family members of the victims who lost their lives.
Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Infrastructure and Ports Development Datuk Julaihi Narawi said there are a total of 12 ferry points across Sarawak with seven of them in coastal roads.
He disclosed that the state government has provided a subsidy of RM78 million annually for the 12 ferry services in Sarawak.
With the occurrence of the accident, Masing stressed the importance for the state government to fast track the building of bridges across Sarawak.
He is hopeful that the nine bridges across the rivers in Sarawak will be completed by 2025.
The nine bridges are Sg Batang Lupar, Sg Batang Igan, Sg Batang Muara Lassa, Sg Batang Paloh, Sg Batang Rambungan, Sg Batang Rajang, Sg Krian, Sg Batang Saribas and Sg Batang Kemena.
Acknowledging that there were some lacking in the enforcement of SOP at the ferry point recently, Masing pointed out that tighter SOP will be enforced at ferry points from now onwards.
Among those present were officials of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Ports Development, JKR Sarawak and SRB. —DayakDaily