Speedboat operators heave a sigh of relief, RM500 aid timely

One of the speedboat plying between Sibu and Dalat.

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SIBU, May 10: Speedboat operators registered with the Sarawak Rivers Board here heaved a sigh of relief at the prospect of receiving the one-off RM500 assistance under Sarawakku Sayang 3.0.

Speedboat operator Loh Leh Kuok, in thanking the state government for the aid, said it came at the right time as they have stopped operation since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced on March 18.

“People like us have no income since March 18, as we have been abiding by the MCO by ceasing operation,” he said.

Loh believed that the money will help to a certain extent in reducing his burden.

Loh Leh Kuok
Danny Kee

Another speedboat operator, Danny Kee, said the financial aid helped a bit to overcome their loss of income incurred during the MCO period.

“During the MCO period, we were just staying at home and not able to operate as usual as we need to follow the SOP of the government,” he explained.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had on Friday, announced that the government would be giving each registered speedboat operator RM500, as their income had been badly affected during the MCO period.

He said months before the MCO, they (speedboat operators) were already affected by the drastic drop in tourist arrivals to Sarawak, thus the number of people using their services throughout Sarawak was reduced.

“In this respect, I am pleased to announce that Sarawak government will provide a one-off cash payment of RM500 to registered penambang in Sarawak to cushion the impact of income loss due to low demand for their services during this period,” he said.

This assistance will benefit a total of 199 penambang and will cost the state RM99,500.

Meanwhile, speedboat and express boat operations can resume effective May 12. However, the SOP set by the State Disaster Management Committee needs to be fully complied with.

They included the taking of body temperature of the juragan, crew and passengers. Everybody also needs to wear a face mask during the duration of the journey and to practice social distancing.

All pets and animals are disallowed in the boats. — DayakDaily