by Abdul Hakim Bujang
In the land named Malaya a tiny adjustment of bus fare during festive season will trigger a free for all in prime time news.
Here on this soil named Sarawak, the biggest celebration is probably Gawai Dayak, and the business community would be feasting on the poor consumers. The preying on customer will be a bigger occasion, much merrier than Gawai itself.
Where are the native champion?
No by election. So all the boisterous native champion have gone back to enjoy their big salaries, comfortable life and chauffeured in brand new cars – of course courtesy of the government – Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat, alike.
I doubt the UMNO sponsored and PR financed bloggers would be bothered to investigate the real problem faced by the natives as the mad rush for votes had stopped.
By the way, where are the concern activist of Pakatan Rakyat not going on the ground the way they did during by election? Where are the Barisan Nasional youth? Now is the time for you to do something for the small people and kick these irresponsible people in the butt. You promised to serve the Rakyat right, or simply want to bodek Anwar Ibrahim and Mohd Najib only?
Where are CVLB and RTD officers?
I cannot blame Ong Tee Keat, because he is probably very worried on his status now that he will not be able to perform his duty as Transport Minister. I cannot blamed god for taking the Deputy Transport Minister prior to Gawai. I think our Prime Minister had to do something.
Early this morning, my good friend called from Miri. He said the cashier of Freesia (bus company) demanded him to pay RM90 for each ticket from Miri to Saratok although the published fare was RM72 per person.
When asked about it, the girl (at the counter) said the new rate was approved by the bus taukeh. Who needs Minister to approve a fare hike in Sarawak?
I am not making up this story. There is no need for me to make an SD. I have very reliable source. I am sure Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) chairman and Road Transport Department (RTD) will say I am just creating rumours.
Since they are likely to say that I was making a wild assumption, so let me name my source as James Joshua Guang, an EXCO of Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) youth movement.
James said Freesia is not the only bus company doing that but want RTD to send officers incognito to find out whether the problem also affect other poor travellers wishing to celebrate Gawai at their respective village.
“Customers should be refunded immediately,” James demanded.
Only the poor, and not very rich will be taking bus home. The rich definitely will fly home using helicopter or driven in huge SUV. The average Joe and family probably will driving their own car home.
I have called up a long lost friend Mohd Shaani Abdullah of National Consumers Complaint Centre and I am sure he will help us to address this issue. We believed that Saratok bus fare is just the tip of the iceberg, and its time for Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat activist to go down and talk to Rakyat. Now!
* The writer is considering to register SarawakUpdate.com in Kalimantan because we are not allowed to use Sarawak name in our trade license when trying to register this morning. The Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri staff at the counter no 4 is without name tag and need serious SMILING training. Not so many people but the face as if having to entertain three million customer in five hours.