Express boat operators urged to apply for diesel subsidy

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EXPRESS boat owners and operators are urged to submit applications to get diesel subsidy and flexibility for the usage of skid tanks from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs (KPDNHEP) to lower operation costs.

“The subsidised diesel will help to lower the cost of operations, and this indirectly will benefit the express boat passengers,” said Deputy Minister for Transport, Datuk Henry Harry Jinep.

He replied to a question from Paulus Palu Gambang (GPS-Batu Danau) with regard to whether or not the state government provided subsidies to lessen the burden of express boat passengers.

Paulus mentioned in his question that Brunei Darussalam had suspended its border reopening.

“This situation has impacted the mobility of the community in Limbang and Lawas and had to travel on land through Temburong district in Brunei.

“For your information, the opening of Brunei’s border is suspended until May 31 according to a media statement from the country’s Prime Minister’s Office on April 22.

“Therefore, express boat is the only mode of transportation connecting Limbang and Lawas other than air transport provided by MASWings.”

He added that, at the moment, the water transport service for Limbang/Lawas/Limbang was provided by Express Ratu Pertma No. 2 and Express Pertama Limbang. The one-way fee rate for Limbang/Lawas is RM35 for adult and RM20 for children.

“The Transport Minister through the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) had a dialogue with the owners and operators on April 29 regarding the issues they faced.

“The ministry through SRB with cooperation from KPDNHEP, Marine Department Sarawak and the Royal Malaysian Customs (JKDM) will help the owners and operators with regard to the application for diesel subsidy and the usage of skid tanks,” he replied.

Paulus also post supplementary questions to Henry on the guidelines to get the diesel subsidy and whether or not owners and operators are allowed to get the subsidised diesel from a third party.

Henry explained that express boat companies need to have passenger boat licence from the Marine Department/District Office and River Transport Permit from SRB.

He added that they must register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) and local authority as well as use jetties approved by JKDM.

“Applicants must own skid tanks approved by KPDNHEP enforcement division and they must have Petroleum Development ACT (PDA) Licence as well as Scheduled Controlled Goods Retail Licence under the Control of Supplies Act 1961 for retail diesel sales.

“If the boat owner applies for the diesel subsidy facility through a third party, they must sign a declaration letter which allows the third party to apply for the diesel subsidy on their behalf,” said Henry.

“If the application for diesel subsidy is approved by KPDNHEP, this will help the express boat companies and the fee will be lower.

“This will as least lessen the passenger’s burden. Maybe the RM35 fee for Lawas/Limbang trip can be lowered to half the price with the subsidy implemented.

“This issue will be temporary because when Brunei reopens its border soon, people can go through the country, meaning that not a lot of people will be using riverine transportation.”

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