[My constituent] told me that the one and only school bus which has been sending the village children to school has stopped its service. The school bus is run by an individual.The problem arose due to poor and inefficient actions (or non-actions) taken by the relevant authorities, in this case, the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Ministry. They have been dragging their feet to resolve the request by the Federation of Malaysian Schoolbus Operators from raising their bus fares, in line with the significant increase in petrol and diesel costs over the past year or so.
I asked myself, what could I do? There must be reasons for the bus driver to do so. I could not insist the bus driver to continue his service though he has been doing it for many years.
Sin Chew Daily quoted Chee Ah Tey, the President of the Federation back in early December as saying that the federation was forced to separately impose the surcharge as the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative Ministry had not reverted on the fare increase proposal.
The Ministry has had plenty of time to evaluate the proposal provided by the Federation. I do not understand the reasons for such extensive delays in such critical decisions which actually affect thousands of school children around the country.
While the Ministry might be "noble" (note: unlikely!) in its attempts to maintain the bus fares at the current levels to "protect" the school children, such attempts to "undermine" the market pricing mechanism will simply mean that these bus drivers will be forced to cut unprofitable routes. The losers in the end are the school children themselves!
The solution is extremely simple. Either let the schoolbus drivers raise their fares reasonably and in accordance to the increase in cost of doing business, or alternatively, offer subsidised diesel specifically for schoolbus operators - although this does mean additional administrative work. Stop dragging your feet and get your act together, otherwise, more school children will suffer.