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Monday, January 5, 2009

> Schoolbus operators defy CVLB, imposes 30% surcharge

Federation of Malaysian Schoolbus Operators Association chairman Chee Ah Tey says some 8,000 operators nationwide will collect a 30% surcharge when school begins tomorrow, in defiance of an order by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB).
“We will definitely collect the 30% surcharge, and are psychologically prepared to be hauled up (by the authorities),” Chee was quoted as saying by China Press today.

He told the daily he is just carrying out what has been decided by the federation (to go ahead with the collection of surcharge), and has no power to change the federation’s resolution on the matter.

“If we (schoolbus operators) are hauled up, and our livelihood is affected, we will hold an emergency meeting. Now, we have to follow the federation’s resolution – to impose the surcharge.”

CVLB director-general Datuk Markiman Kobiran warned lately that the board will not bow to “threats” and would take stern action against schoolbus operators who impose the surcharge unilaterally.

He said enforcement officers would swing into action when school reopens to haul up operators who are stubborn enough to go ahead to collect a surcharge.

To this, Chee said the operators are “not threatening” the government. He said it was CVLB which had deemed the federation’s request a threat.

He said the operators had approached the board for a fare increase early last year and the latter had agreed to give a reply by last September.

“We waited from September to October ... and from October to November. Although there is no guarantee that the government would agree to our request, the least they (CVLB) can do is to give us a reply.

“The operators have expressed their wishes, but the CVLB didn’t even bother to reply. The operators have run out of patience.”

He said since the government had turned down the federation’s earlier request to lower the price of subsidised diesel for schoolbus operators from RM1.43 a litre to RM1, there should be an alternative solution to the request.

Markiman told the daily that the board will not compromise its stand and will haul up all those who impose the surcharge.

He also said if the federation remains stubborn, the board will not entertain any of its requests in the future.

CVLB will join hands with the Road Transport Department to crack down on errant schoolbus operators in the peninsula beginning tomorrow.

“During the operation, schoolbus drivers must produce their monthly fee card to prove that they have not collected the surcharge,” said Markiman.

“Those who are not able to produce the card are deemed as having gone against the rules and legal action can be taken against them.”

He said if they remain stubborn, they can forget about making any more request in the future, such as applying for permit to ferry holiday-makers during school holidays. “We will not entertain them,” he added - theSun.