The spread of Covid-19 and the implementation of the movement control order over the past year have affected the income of bus operators and drivers, forcing them to seek income from other sources.
Tour bus driver, Mohd Faiz Yusuf, 29, said since tourism activities were not allowed, he and his wife had to try to earn an income by selling kuih by the side of the road near their home in Nibong Tebal, Penang.
“I have been driving buses for five years but now, we do whatever it takes to put food on the table. I start the bus every day to keep the engine running since it has been sitting all this while.
“My wife and I started selling kuih in the morning and during this month, we try our luck selling at the Ramadan bazaar, ” he said when met by reporters after receiving aid from Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim) recently.
He said many bus drivers were experiencing the same fate including factory and school bus drivers.
Yadim Penang director, Mohd Afifi Ruslan said his party had received a letter from the Northern Zone Tour Bus Operators coalition requesting assistance to ease the burden of bus operators and drivers.
He said the contributions consisting of essential items would be handed over to the recipients in three sessions to adhere to the standard operating procedures set by the government.
Lure of the islands
Meanwhile, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said that the uniqueness of the islands in Sabah will be able to attract more domestic tourists to the state. She said this at an event held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Nancy said it was the right time to educate people on the treasures that are waiting for them at these islands.
“The ministry strongly encourages locals to come to these islands to see for themselves our treasures as well as support the efforts in preserving them, ” she added.
While in KK, Nancy went on an island-hopping tour of Pulau Sapi and Pulau Manukan at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Marine Ecological Research Centre (MERC).
Also present were her deputy minister Datuk Guandee Kohoi, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin and Sabah Parks director Dr Maklarin Lakim.
Nancy said the best approach to promote these islands was to allow them to see what the islands could offer with their own eyes, as seeing is believing.
She said Pulau Manukan would be able to lure tourists because it has a hatchery for turtles, a marine research centre, and good accommodation facilities.
The ministry is also prepared to help maintain and upgrade the facilities at Pulau Sapi to ensure comfort for the tourists, she said. – Bernama