LABUAN: The longest-serving ferry operator between Labuan and Menumbok has been told to cease operations immediately, but its operator, the Labuan Ferry Corporation wants to appeal the decision.
The letter to LFC was issued by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) on October 25 stating that its operating license has been revoked with immediate effect.
Among the reasons stated for its revocation was that LFC was in the process of being wound up by the Labuan High Court, and also its operations was not in compliance with the safety requirement aspects.
Captain Abel Ongkunik, the Sabah Ports and Harbour Department, confirmed the revocation of the license, according to a Bernama report in the theedgemarkets Tuesday.
Captain Abel was quoted saying that the public notification through media was important to prevent the illegal selling of Labuan-Menumbok-Labuan ferry tickets by irresponsible parties in view of the festive season and school holidays.
Peter Kong, the LFC chairman was also quoted by Bernama as saying his company would submit an appeal to the MoT once they have studied the contents of the letter, for reinstatement of the operating license.
In its letter, the MoT said it had received notification from the Sabah Ports and Harbour Department on the court wind-up against the operator and this was subsequently confirmed by the Department of Insolvency it had taken place on Feb 6, 2017.
The MoT also received a safety inspection report on October 2 from the Labuan Marine Department that the ferry used by LFC – the MV Wawasan Perdana – did not comply with the safety aspect requirements.
LFC had provided the Labuan-Menumbok-Labuan service for over a decade, initially operating Wawasan Perdana and Warisan, but ceased operations of the latter, and was only operating Perdana, which is currently under repair.
With the revocation of the license, the sea route from Labuan to mainland Sabah is currently handled by two operators – Juta Bonus though Galaxy, and Labuan Mainland Link Sdn Bhd through its three ferries – Kimanis 1, Putrajaya 2, and Goodwill Star.
Meanwhile, Kong said his company had been operating the ferry that had helped connect the people both from the island and Sabah, and as such, he felt due consideration should be given to their appeal when it is done.
“Since we started operations, we have helped improve the connectivity from Labuan to the mainland Sabah, and we also managed to ensure the transportation of goods to the island run smoothly.
On the compliance of the safety aspects, he said it could be improved once the repair works on the ferry is completed.
“All the while, we have complied with every single aspect of the safety requirement, and of course there are things that may have been unintentionally overlooked; that we can improve,” he added.