LABUAN: A new ferry made available with government assistance and not necessarily another operator, would be the solution to the limitation of the Labuan-Menumbok vehicle ferry service.
“It’s about time we open up our minds for a solution on the long-drawn problems of the service and not only point fingers at the present operator,” Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman, the former Labuan MP, said.
Another ferry is essentially required to handle the traffic but it is not economically feasible for a private operator to invest some RM60 million on one, Suhaili who is also the former chairman of Labuan Corporation, opined.
“It is a public service and the Government should also be responsible.
I urge the Government to build a new ferry and lease it to the current operator or the highest bidder.
Alternatively, it could also subsidize the operator in building one,” he added.
He further said that it is not only a Labuan issue but also a Sabah issue and since the Sabah Government has given exclusive landing rights in Menumbok to the current operator, it should also play a part in finding a solution by urging the Federal Government to assist in the financing.
On the prospects of the Labuan-Menumbok bridge, Suhaili believed that if it is not included in the next 10th Malaysia Plan then it would not be expected for the next 15 years.
“There is thus the necessity for the Government to find a solution to the ferry situation here.
At best, any new operator could most likely come up with is a river ferry but that’s not the answer,” he stressed.