Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bus operators to get subsidy for Raya

PUTRAJAYA: Bus operators will be offered diesel subsidy of 9,000 litres for each additional express bus used between Sept 15 and Oct 15 during the balik kampung rush for the Hari Raya festival.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said the decision was made by the Cabinet Wednesday to ensure there would be enough buses for Malaysians to go home for the festive season.

He added that the Government would be spending between RM100mil and RM150mil in subsidy.

Shahrir said the Cabinet was expecting an additional 2,000 express buses on the road with the move to offer the subsidy.

"This is in addition to the 30% surcharge and discounted toll charges to ensure Malaysians have enough transportation to get home.

"Last year there were about 1,900 additional buses during the festive season and we are expecting more this year with this move," he told reporters Wednesday after attending the launch of Bernama's web television by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi here.

The Cabinet decision was made based on complaints by bus operators that there would be a lack of buses this Hari Raya as school and factory bus operators refused to lease out their buses.

Bus operators had also said that the 30% surcharge allowed by the Government for the Hari Raya season, effective for one month from Sept 15, was inadequate to give the express bus operators sufficient capital to lease additional buses.

Shahrir added that Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Noh Omar was expected to give more details on the Cabinet decision.

On whether there would be another announcement on the fuel price this month, Shahrir said he hoped that there would be a Hari Raya gift as the global oil price had dropped recently.

"In fact the announcement made late last month was supposed to be made this month as planned but when the world oil price dropped and Merdeka Day approached the Government decided to announce it last month itself.

"The same may happen this month too; we will announce (early) if there is good news," he said.

Source : The Star

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