Friday September 8, 2006
Kereta sapu driving out buses
BY STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: The kereta sapu menace has gone regional. Syndicates have been found operating an illegal trans-Borneo transportation system stretching from Kalimantan in Indonesia to Brunei and going through Sarawak.
The Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association has lodged reports on the problem with the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board, the Road Transport Department, the police and other relevant authorities.
Association president Datuk Mohamad Ashfar Ali said bus operators in Sarawak have, for years, been plagued by the kereta sapu menace involving local operators.
Now, we have discovered syndicates operating kereta sapu in Kalimantan are also entering Sarawak and carrying with them illegal migrants and illegal workers, he told a press conference here yesterday.
We have found that they come from various destinations in Kalimantan, and use numerous entry points at the border to go all the way to Brunei.
Along the route, they drop off illegals all over Sarawak and pick up passengers going to Brunei.
These international kereta sapu drivers use vans. This kereta sapu menace is getting from bad to worse in this region.
We estimate that there are at least 10,000 illegal kereta sapu on the road in Sarawak. Business for legitimate bus and taxi operators in Sarawak has dropped by more than 30%.
Ashfar, however, said his association was grateful to the Government for reducing road tax, providing RM200mil in a revolving fund for bus companies to upgrade their buses and for offering low interest rates from the SME Bank to buy new buses and repair old ones.