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Sunday August 14, 2011

Strike threat by school bus operators over new policy

GEORGE TOWN: School bus operators nationwide have threatened to go on strike after Hari Raya in protest over a new policy that vehicles aged 30 years be taken off the roads.

Federation of Malaysian School Bus Drivers Association advisor Datuk Loh Choon Beng, who is also Penang Schoolbus Association chairman, said the operators were only informed of the policy late last month.

He said the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) had informed the association that permits would not be issued to school buses aged 30 years and above.

There are about 25,000 buses operating nationwide and the association expects more than 60% will be affected if the policy is implemented.

“We have decided to stop our operations and will only resume when the commission scraps the policy,” Loh said yesterday.

“The implementation of the policy will burden the operators because they cannot afford to buy new vehicles costing between RM80,000 and RM300,000, depending on size.

“Parents who rely on school buses to transport their children will also be affected because most buses are more than 30 years old,” he said.

Loh added that the move to have school bus operators re-register their licences with the commission was time-consuming due to the tedious process which took more than a day.

In PETALING JAYA, SPAD chairman chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar urged the federation to have a discussion over the issue.

“As far as I am concerned, no appointment has been made with us to talk about the issue. I hope that they can come forward because we are very open to having such a talk with them,” he said, adding that the ruling had existed since 2005.

“All vehicles must meet safety requirements and undergo inspections by Puspakom, which will determine their roadworthiness,” he said.

He also urged the federation to consider the well-being of the students involved should it decide to carry on with the strike.

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