By RAHIMAH MAJID
LETTER: The people of Pulau Banggi and Kudat are asking why they have been left out from the 50 per cent government subsidy on fares for ferries plying the Kudat-Banggi route, while those in more affluent destinations like Labuan-Kota Kinabalu, continuously enjoy the privilege since four years ago.
The people here cry foul of this discrimination. It is blatantly an unfair treatment. Most of those in Banggi are small-time fishermen and farmers, but every time they have to cross to Kudat they pay the full ferry fares.
Beside the Kota Kinabalu-Labuan route, also given 50 per cent discount off ferry fares are those for the routes of Labuan-Menumbok, Labuan-Sipitang, Limbang-Labuan and Lawas-Limbang.
The 50 per cent discount, which started in January 2013, also covers commercial vehicles registered under the LPKP – Lembaga Perlesenan Kenderaan Perdagangan for such routes.
Why are the poor people of Banggi purposefully been left out of such subsidy? What is the logic?
The household income of those living in Banggi is much lower than those in Kota Kinabalu and Labuan, and yet the Banggi folk need to pay full fare for the hour-long ferry trip. But those in or those who go to Labuan are given 50 per cent subsidy by the government!
It is so unfair and it has been going on for more than four years now.
PKR wonders why the people’s elected representatives from the ruling party in the affected areas have been so quiet.
PKR has now gathered a 1,000 signatures from the areas to petition the authorities to not only extend the same subsidy to Kudat-Banggi route but to compensate the discriminated citizens there.
We will forward the petition to the relevant parties as soon as the right time has come.
The costlier ferry fares have certainly burdened our people and have contributed to higher cost of living in the areas. It is time the government to stop mistreating the people in Banggi and Kudat.
Currently there are two ferries under a single operator servicing the Kudat-Banggi route.
- Puan Rahimah Majid is Sabah PKR Women’s Head, cum PKR Kudat Divisional head