Thursday, February 20, 2014

Charging exorbitant fees serious exploitation — Baru

Posted on February 20, 2014, Thursday

KUCHING: The complaints of exorbitant fees charged by the operator of a ferry service at Murum Dam have also caught the attention of state PKR chairman Baru Bian.

Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said the government should immediately step in to prevent further exploitation on these poor Penans of Metalun who were frequent users of the service.

“This is a serious exploitation. If the government doesn’t step in it means that it is allowing thugs to take advantage of the situation to exploit the people,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

A four-wheel-drive vehicle is charged RM150 per crossing, while truck below 10 tonnes is charged RM250 per crossing. Logging trucks and dump trucks are charged RM400 per crossing, a trailer without goods is charged RM1,000 per crossing and trailers with goods are charged double the amount.

Baru said the government, through Public Works Department, could build their own ferry and charge reasonable fees for those using the service.

“Otherwise, this is exploitation and it is happening in the rural areas. The rural people need government intervention to help them in this difficult time.”

Baru said he was aware that ferry services operated by private companies existed in a few areas. They were doing a good job if they were helping the local people.

“But it is obvious in this (Murum) case that the local people are being exploited. This is daylight robbery. If it (fee) is a bit higher than the normal fees, people can accept it but if it is as high as the ones in Murum, I think it is crazy.”

Baru said this was a reflection of the government’s failure in seeing to the real need of the people especially those in the rural areas.

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