SANDAKAN June 18, 2011: Lorry operators in Sabah and Sarawak have decided to increase their fees by 20-30 per cent effective June 1 for both short and long trips.
Federation of Sabah Lorry Transport Association ( SLTA) president Steven Chua Pui Ming said they have no choice but to increase the fees to offset rising costs following the withdrawal of diesel subsidy by the government.
“We are helpless and the end users will have to bear part of the increased transportation costs,” he told reporters here.
“Withdrawing the diesel subsidy is a big blow to the transportation sector. This drawback will affect drivers’ salary, insurance and parts, among others,”
Steven said he had forwarded the plight of the transportation sector in the State to Deputy Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Co-operative Minister Datuk Tan Lian Hoe.
It was forwarded to her in a meeting held in Putrajaya recently, which was also attended by other transportation sector associations, said Chua.
He said since the implementation of diesel subsidy from day one, it was known as Subsidy Diesel and not Super Subsidy as stated.
During the meeting with Tan, he said the ministry never mentioned that the RM1.80 price would increase from RM1.80 to RM2.80 per litre.
“If the government is to withdraw the subsidy of RM0.37 per litre, the price will be RM1.80 (from current RM1.43), which is the same as the current petrol kiosk retail diesel pump price nationwide,” he said.
Chua also said Tan had promised to convey their plight to the Prime Minister regarding the withdrawal of diesel subsidy.
However, despite Tan’s promise, the ministry said different things, he added.
“Our neighbour Brunei has a petrol kiosk pump price of 30 cent (Brunei currency) per litre, which is equivalent to RM0.86 per litre. As we all know, Sabah is an oil producing and fuel exporter, so when market fuel price increases, Sabah will definitely benefit more earnings from the sales.
“Sabah and Sarawak should therefore enjoy a higher subsidy, but sad to say that both the states have to pay RM1 extra more per litre.
“Moreover, the infrastructure in Sabah and Sarawak are five to 10 years behind those of Peninsular Malaysia,” added Chua.