MIRI: The Marudi ferry operator has agreed to slash the fare for cargo vehicles from between RM100 and RM400 to a mere RM1 effective immediately.
Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil, who is Marudi assemblyman, said Marudi folk can now look forward to cheaper goods and an overall lower cost of living.
“All vehicles except motorcycles, which are free of charge, would be charged only RM1 with effect from today (yesterday),” he announced after chairing a meeting with the ferry operator and Public Works Department (JKR) here yesterday.
Penguang had earlier pledged to get to the bottom of the issue of exorbitant ferry fares in Marudi.
He said the flat RM1 rate was based on instructions in a circular from the Chief Minister’s Department effective March 1, which was approved by the cabinet.
The previous rate fixed by the Sarawak Rivers (Ferry Fares) Regulations 2004, Section 38 (1)(0) were RM3 for every lorry or bus of less than eight metric tonnes, RM5 for every tanker or lorry over eight metric tonnes, and RM10 for tractor trailers.
Penguang said the exorbitant ferry fares burden Marudi folk who had to absorb the cost of transportation.
“The people of Marudi were suffering as a pallet of bricks cost twice as much in Marudi compared to Miri. The ferry charges could be RM800 for a return trip,” he explained.
Last week, Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon urged the government to check on complaints that the ferry operator was overcharging cargo vehicles.
In response, Penguang said Dr Ting could call him to discuss any issue affecting the people.
“I told Dr Ting that we can always work together. You are from Marudi. Let’s work together. No need to complain in the newspaper,” he said.