Labuan ferry operator warned against increasing lorry fares
Posted on July 19, 2012, Thursday
DEPUTY Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has warned the operator of the sole roll-on roll-off (RORO) ferry servicing Labuan-Menumbok against increasing the fare to transport lorries.
The Infrastructure Development Minister pointed out that as the operator had the transport monopoly, it should not take advantage and hike the fare.
Pairin believed the ferry operator was taking advantage of the situation as it did not have any competitor.
“The operator cannot simply do that,” he said when met by reporters at the state assembly sitting yesterday.
Pairin however said he was made to understand that some of the lorry drivers were not complying with the regulations resulting in them being charged higher fares by the ferry operator.
The Deputy Chief Minister also disclosed that he had not received a memorandum from Sri Tanjung assemblyman Jimmy Wong on behalf of a lorry operator.
“However, the Ministry of Transport also has a role in this and while we monitor the situation, we hope the ministry will also be looking into it,” he said adding that he believed the situation would resolve itself once the two ferry companies, which were given the license to service the Labuan-Menumbok route, start operation very soon.
“One of the companies, it seems, is ready to start operation by the end of this year, so there will be competition and naturally the fare will go down by itself,” he said.
Asked on how soon the new ferry operator would start, he said: “Very soon, and I was made to understand that they are now running test runs and is taking a little bit of time as they are using a new vessel.”
Lorry operators had complained that the fare had increased by four-folds in March, where among others the fare for a nine-tonne lorry was between RM300 and RM1,080.
Issuance of license for the ferry and regulation of its fares fall under the federal government through the Ministry of Transport but the authority on the landing rights is the state government.