• nabalunews


15 NOV 2020

SANDAKAN: Sandakan Mini Bus Association chairman Mohd Harun Ramli has asked the Federal government to pay attention to their welfare, especially in facing the challenges posed by the implementation of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He said that since being instructed not to operate for more than a month, the income of the association’s 518 members had been badly affected.

He added that they had also never received any specific aid, such as that obtained by other public transport services like taxi and e-hailing drivers, since the first phase of the MCO. 

In fact, he said, mini bus operators were told that they were not eligible to apply for the extension of the targeted moratorium as their financing was obtained through a private leasing company not involved with the moratorium facility.

“We request that Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong implement an initiative to help mini bus operators in Sandakan,” he told Bernama at a ceremony to hand over food baskets here today.

Mohd Harun hoped that the government would also consider providing subsidies to mini bus operators after being instructed to carry only half of the full capacity of passengers.

“Since being allowed to operate again (on Nov 11) with half-capacity, not only has our income been affected by 50 per cent, we also can't reach half capacity because the public is still afraid to leave home as Sandakan is a red zone and COVID-19 cases in the district are increasing,” he said.

The Sabah Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board had instructed mini bus services in Sandakan to stop operating from Oct 6 after several bus drivers tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Sungai Sibuga state assemblyman Hamsan Awang Supain, who is also the Sabah Housing and Local Government assistant minister, asked the association to prepare a memorandum of all its requests.

“I ask that the memorandum be handed to me soonest possible, if can by early next week, so that I can forward it to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Bung Moktar Radin.

“We know that the Dewan Rakyat is in session and since Bung Moktar is also a Member of Parliament (Kinabatangan), I will seek his help to raise the matter in Parliament,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the ceremony today, a total of 138 food baskets, contributed by the Zakat and Fitrah Division of the Sabah Islamic Religious Council (MUIS) and Sabah Environment Generation Club, were handed over to mini bus operators from Kampung Merpati and Kampung Tinosa near here. - Bernama