MUAR: Reduce the subsidised diesel price to RM1 per litre or a 30 per cent surcharge will be slapped on students using schoolbuses from January.
That was the ultimatum issued by the Federation of Malaysian Schoolbuses Operators Association to the government yesterday.
The operators want the price of subsidised diesel, now sold to members at RM1.43 per litre, to be further reduced to subsidise rising operational costs.
Association president Chee Ah Tey said it submitted a memorandum to the government in September but there had been no reply.
Chee said the association realised a surcharge could cause grave financial difficulties to poor families.
"With the surcharge, parents will have to pay RM45 and RM130 a month instead of RM30 to RM100."
Chee said a resolution to impose the surcharge was one of three passed by the association recently.
The other two relate to the use of new buses and the refusal of insurance companies to give coverage to schoolbuses.
Chee said the association found it unnecessary to retire buses that were 10 to 20 years old if they were in good running condition.
"We are being pressured into an awkward situation where insurance companies are reluctant to insure our schoolbuses because of the so-called 'high risks', imposing unfair and unreasonably high premiums of up to 100 per cent."
Chee said schoolbuses were sent to Puspakom every six months for inspection and to obtain road worthiness certification.
"To list them as high-risk shows a lack of confidence in Puspakom."
He said many schoolbus operators could not afford to pay the monthly instalments for new buses and called for the government to be more practical in view of the uncertain economic situation.
The association would propose to the government to set up an insurance company to cater to school buses.
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