THE Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) has apparently been recording the particulars of passengers using public express boats since May last year.
SRB chairman Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn said while passengers may find this an inconvenience doing so is actually for their own good.
I have to agree with the Tarat assemblyman.
Having a record of passenger details is vital in case of an emergency or accident. How else would the authorities be able to account for those on board to conduct rescue efforts.
Having such a record should also stop overloading because SRB personnel would know the exact number of people on board.
“At every jetty and wharf, we will monitor wrongdoings such as carrying passengers above the limit. But sometimes, the overloading of passengers happens due to the passengers themselves scrambling for seats as they rush to go home,” said Datuk Roland.
We can’t just blame the operators for problems with overloading because we all know when there’s a rush to get home for the holidays, some passengers can get out of hand.
So it is good to know that the authorities are taking the issue seriously and are doing all they can to ensure safety for river travel, which is such an important means of transportation for Sarawak.
Datuk Roland added that express boat owners are also encouraged to take up insurance for their boats and passengers.
That would indeed be a positive development. Express boat operators should really consider this as an extra service for their passengers. It would also be a smart business move because of course passengers would prefer to ride on express boats that offer insurance for extra peace of mind.
Express boats in Sarawak can mainly be found in Sibu, Kapit, Tanjung Manis, Miri and Bintulu.
The report from Bernama:
Express boats to record particulars of passengers
KUCHING, Jan 19 (Bernama) — The Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) is to record the particulars of passengers using public express boats during the Chinese New Year festive period, SRB chairman Datuk Roland Sagah said here today.
He said this is part of the board’s measures to monitor passenger movement via the marine transport which normally peaks during festive periods.
“I know there have been complaints that the registration process is causing inconvenience to passengers but this is for their own good,” he told reporters.
He said the particulars will provide information that can facilitate passengers making any claim against their transport provider.
While not able to provide the exact number of express boats operating in the state now, Sagah said they were mainly operating in Kuching, Sarikei, Sibu, Kapit, Bintulu and Miri.
How the Borneo Post reported it:
Sagah: SRB to keep monitoring boats
KUCHING: Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) is not taking lightly its enforcement during the Chinese New Year (CNY) period even though there are not as many passengers on river express boats as compared to the other festive seasons.
Its chairman Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn said enforcement would be beefed up to ensure the express boats do not flout the river safety rules and regulations.
According to him, amongst the steps taken would include officers going undercover and also the registering of passengers embarking express boats.
“The ‘balik kampung’ (going home) rush may not be great during Chinese New Year if compared to other festivities such as Gawai but we are not taking chances.
“At this time, our enforcement officers are monitoring the situation to ensure express boats comply with the rules and regulations.
“At every jetty and wharf, we will monitor wrongdoings such as carrying passengers above the limit. But sometimes, the overloading of passengers happens due to the passengers themselves scrambling for seats as they rush to go home,” he told reporters after a Sarawak National Youth Organisation (Saberkas) event at Wisma Saberkas yesterday.
On the registration of express boat passengers, Sagah who is also Deputy Speaker of State Legislative Assembly revealed this is being undertaken by SRB personnel manned at the wharfs and jetties.
“This started since May last year. Of course, some complained it is inconvenient but its for everyone’s good,” he said, adding express boat owners are also encouraged to take up insurance for their boats and passengers.
To a question, he said there are hundreds of express boats in the state mainly in Sibu, Kapit, Tanjung Manis, Miri and Bintulu although he could not give exact figures.
He also disclosed that while privately owned small boats are not required to register with SRB, their owners have been advised to equip their boats with safety equipment and gears.
On another matter, he said the Sarawak River Barrage has minimised the occurrences of floods especially in Kuching city and surrounding areas.
The Barrage also plays major role in regulating the volume of water upriver in flushing dirty and smelly water during dry season, he added.
Meanwhile, Sagah who is also Tarat assemblyman and Saberkas vice president, later joined other Saberkas exco members to perform the eye dotting on lion dance costumes in conjunction with the CNY celebrations.