PUTRAJAYA: The government has agreed to provide a one-off aid of RM500 to 6,600 express bus drivers nationwide, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
He said RM3.3mil had been allocated for the one-off assistance under the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy.
“To qualify for the aid, the individual or express bus driver must be a Malaysian citizen, registered as an employee with an express bus company and still contributing to the Social Security Organisation.
“Those who have already received the special assistance such as school bus, tour bus, taxis or e-hailing drivers are no longer eligible as the aid is especially for express bus drivers,” Dr Wee said in a statement.Another condition is that the individual or express bus driver must hold a valid Vocational Licence, taking into account the licence renewal exemption period that has been granted by the Transport Ministry (MOT) throughout 2021.
Dr Wee said only express bus companies or operators with valid licences or permits from the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) or the Sabah and Sarawak Commercial Vehicle Licencing Board (CVLB) are eligible to apply for the aid.
He said the express bus companies or operators are required to submit the full details of the individuals or express bus drivers under their employment to APAD, Sabah or Sarawak CVLB to determine their eligibility and distribution of funds.Express bus companies or operators can contact the nearest APAD or Sabah and Sarawak CVLB offices for assistance, he said, adding that the aid will be distributed as soon as the funds reach the MOT and the relevant implementing agencies.“Hopefully, the aid will be able to ease the burden of express bus drivers during these difficult times amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and they will be back at work when the situation improves,” he said.
Wee added that the MOT will, in collaboration with the National Security Council, other authorities and the bus operators association, look into steps and guidelines to help bus operators prepare for regular service.
He said a guideline on safe operating procedures will be developed to help express bus operators provide the best service possible once interstate restrictions are lifted and domestic tourism activities are allowed under the National Recovery Plan.
On a separate matter, Dr Wee said Malaysia has been invited to the second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference, which will be held online and offline from Oct 14 to 16 in Beijing.
He said he felt honoured when Chinese Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng extended the invitation to him during a virtual meeting yesterday.“According to Minister Li, the topic of this conference will be ‘Sustainable Transport, Sustainable Development’.
“The conference will include a forum for ministers to discuss the sustainable development of the transport industry.
“I sincerely thank the Chinese government for its invitation,” he said on his Facebook yesterday.
Dr Wee noted that Malaysia, as a developing country with a rapidly growing economy, needs opportunities to connect with other countries to promote nation-building.