Dennis (seated second row, sixth left) and other guests pose for a group photo with PPPERTU members during the dinner.
MIRI: The federal government’s fuel subsidy scheme for vehicles with not more than 1,500cc engine capacity will not benefit the communities in the rural areas of Baram.
Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau says this is because most of the rural communities own and drive vehicles that have engine capacity larger than the threshold set under the fuel subsidy, in view of the poor road conditions in their areas.
“People in Baram and in the rural areas mostly own vehicles with (engine) capacity of around 2,000cc to 2,500cc not because they are rich, but (because) it is a necessity. They have no choice but to buy and use vehicles with such capacity because only those vehicles can pass through the logging roads connecting these rural communities.
“One cannot use vehicles with a lower capacity if they want to go to Bario, for example, because they might end up in the middle of the road — such (1,500cc and below) capacity is really inadequate,” he said.
Hence, Dennis urged the federal government to review the current fuel subsidy scheme to benefit the rural communities.
“I, representing the rural communities, would like to appeal to the federal government to review the terms and conditions imposed (to get the fuel subsidy) and consider giving the fuel subsidy to owners of vehicles with more than the set capacity, especially those in the rural areas of Baram – and Sarawak in general.
“The rural communities should be provided with the appropriate subsidies by the government to lighten their burden,” he added.
Dennis was speaking during a dinner to celebrate 2019 and also the Chinese New Year, hosted by the Telang Usan Four-Wheel Drive Owners Association (PPPERTU) recently.
He hoped that a revised subsidy would also lighten the burden off the four-wheel drive vehicle owners who provide transportation services to rural areas.
At the event, Dennis said he would propose to the Sarawak government and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to provide free tyres for the association.
He also announced an allocation of RM10,000 to PPPERTU for its future activities.
Present at the dinner were political secretary to the chief minister Charles Balan Seling, Miri Mayor Adam Yii, Miri District Officer Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusuf, Telang Usan District Officer Baru Tai, Pustaka Miri regional manager Salina Zawawi, James Valley Harry from the BaraEducation Office, PPPERTU chairman Councillor Jarau Braim, Sabah Sarawak Gas Pipeline (SSGP) operation support unit executive Walter Anyie Tomy, Telang Usan Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Youth chairman Councillor Dominic Nyurang and members of PPPERTU.
In tabling the 2019 National Budget early November last year, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng proposed fuel subsidy of up to 100 litres per month for cars with engine capacity of 1,500cc and below, and up to 40 litres per month for motorcycles with capacity below 125cc.
This subsidy mechanism is slated for implementation in the second quarter of this year.