Sarawak govt urged to adjust aid to school bus operators and drivers affected by Covid-19 pandemic

George Young Si-Ricord Junior

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KUCHING, May 29: Pertubuhan Pemilik Bas Sekolah Muara Tuang (PPBSMT) is proposing to the Sarawak government to adjust the aid to school bus operators and drivers who are also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Habitat Indigenous Daerah Untuk Permulihan (Hidup) chairman George Young Si Ricord Jr, in a press statement today, said they supported the proposal from the association as it is common knowledge that the Covid-19 which forced suspension of face-to-face learning in classrooms had caused tremendous difficulties to school bus operators.

According to George, the consequential loss of income had rendered the operators to not only be unable to provide for the needs of their family but also to meet the expenses relating to the biannual mandatory inspections required under the terms of the license where each inspection costs as much as RM400.

“Firstly, PPBSMT proposed to the Sarawak government to modify the aid to operator or driver of school buses to be increased to RM1,500, which is the same as the amount to be given to hawkers and petty traders as they are facing a similar situation, and the amount should be given every month until August 2021 or when schools are all fully opened, whichever comes first.

“Secondly, is for the Sarawak government to make an urgent representation to the federal government to reduce the requirement for inspection to just once a year and for the inspection fees to be reduced by 50 per cent,” he said.

George pointed out, to compound the financial difficulties they are experiencing, the RM500 aid promised by the federal government under Bantuan Prima has not been paid yet.

“Hidup believed that the proposals would not unduly burden the government as the Sarawak government is known for its very substantial reserves,” he added.

On the same note, George also wished Sarawakians a happy Gawai Dayak celebration and advised everyone to continue to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set.

“We would like to take this opportunity to wish all Dayaks Selamat Gawai Dayak 2021 and to please observe all SOPs set by the government and other reasonable measures so as to stay safe from the Covid virus. Oooohah!,” he said. — DayakDaily