Thursday, 24th April, 2003


  Labuan-KK ferry fare hike ill-timed

Daily Express


LABUAN:  The recent RM3 increase in ferry fare between Labuan and Kota Kinabalu is being seen by some quarters as "a dent" to a host of major activities here at the end of this month and next month. The hike was "badly timed", considering that it is just ahead of the Labuan Sea Sports Challenge that will be held at the end of this month and the Harvest Festival next month, said Labuan Malay Chamber of Commerce (LMCC)

" These are major events and travel between Labuan and Kota Kinabalu during the period will be at the peak.... the RM6 hike for a return fare to Kota Kinabalu will definitely affect many," said LMCC Chairman Senator Datuk Omar Bledram.



He said that even if the operators had valid grounds to increase the fare, the regulators of the industry should have requested them to defer the hike to a later date.

Bledram noted that Labuan Corporation (LC) has set aside more than RM100,000 and spent another RM100,000 or more to host the premier Labuan Sea Sports Challenge to attract participants from the region, including Sabah.

"The hike in the ferry fare will undoubtedly increase the cost od accessibility to Labuan and thus serve as a deterrent to participants.

"Businessman should be sensitive to the efforts undertaken by LC to attract more people to the island. If not financially supportive of LC's efforts to promote tourism, they should at least be co-operative by way of maintaining their fares or prices," said Bledram.

Recently, all the ferries operating between here and Kota Kinabalu increased their fares and one of the operators, Wong Kii Hii, cited higher cost of fuel, lower passenger volume on the route and failure of the authority to provide them fuel subsidy for the increase.

Wong also said that the fare on the route had not been increased since 1988.

Based on the new fare, the one way ticket to Kota Kinabalu now costs RM31 for orginary class and RM36 for first class.