KOTA KINABALU, May 14 — The Sabah government will look for comprehensive ways to enable public transport operators in the state to operate in accordance with standard operating procedures (SOP) stipulated by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said this was following complaints received about unprofitable operating costs from public transport operators, especially given the number of bus passengers being limited for each travel route.
He said the state government understood the situation, but every public transport operator whether land, air and sea had to comply with the SOP, that is using only 50 per cent of the seating area as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“I know there are (bus operators) complaining. Sometimes buses for example from Kota Kinabalu to Menumbok or Kuala Penyu, if only accommodating half load (from the bus seating) they may not be able to cover the cost of oil.
“As such, the state government will look for ways to help them, and by operating (resuming) bus services (at least) operators can generate an income (although not as usual),” he told reporters after handing over Aidilfitri cakes to the security forces here, today.
Mohd Shafie said the state government had also advised airlines to open more domestic routes during the CMCO to enable them to cover operating costs, although the revenue earned was only half of the normal income.
He said the public transport sector should be managed in a systematic and orderly manner to meet the needs of the people at the grassroots level, thus facilitating their movement during this period.
Meanwhile, Mohd Shafie said the Sabah government was still maintaining security in all areas despite inter-district travelling being permitted in the state to ensure the people complied with the SOPs including passenger restrictions in each vehicle.
He said people should always be aware, disciplined and concerned with their personal health by applying social distancing to break the COVID-19 chain.
“This includes while travelling during Hari Raya. People need to practise self-control especially since Sabah now has new cases involving students from institution of higher learning who have returned home,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Shafie said border controls would continue to be tightened in order to safeguard the people of Sabah while ensuring no foreign elements penetrated the nation’s borders.