Friday, 8th February, 2002
'Good But Not Good Enougt'
By Sohan Das

Labuan: The Labuan Ferry Corporation Sdn Bhd (LFC) which holds a five-year contract from the State Government to run the Menumbok-Labuan service has introduced a computerised online advance booking system to enable bookings 30 days in advance.

It's Chairman Peter Kong told MP Suhaili Abdul Rahman that the company invested about RM1 million to upgrade its booking services.

"Those who book in advance will be given a boarding, the registration number of the car and name of its driver.

"There will be more first come first board system and no scramble at the terminal. We expect boarding to be orderly," Kong said.

Suhaili said the system was definitely an improvement of the service and would help solve constant complaints of long waits and only solve part of the problem.

He said the ultimate solution was still to have a new and faster ferry.

"We need a ferry with a crossing time of one hour and with some basic facilities on board. Only such a ferry would provide satisfaction to the travellers," Suhaili said.

He said the present ferry about 20 years old was far from satisfactory.

He added that a new ferry would cost RM7 million and understood the problem faced by the operator as banks were not prepared to lend money if they deem it not viable to do so.

He said the Sabah Government could help in this matter by seeking help from Sabah Credit Corporation or another State-owned agency to help the operator get a new ferry.

"A new ferry would be beneficial both to Labuan and Sabah," Suhaili said.

He said he had also proposed this to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat.