KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has hoped that the government could be more considerate towards the plight of the school bus operators, and not to issue any directive which could further impact on their already tough livelihood amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It is also hoped that the government could provide living allowances and rebate on the road tax, to assist the school bus operators to better cope with the devastating economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO),” said its President, Tan Sri T.C Goh.

He was commenting on the recent statement made by Senior Minister (security cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (on May 9) that, school bus operators should not demand fees from parents as schools are still closed. He also said he will bring forward the matter to the Transport Minister, besides issuing a directive to school bus operators.

Ismail made the statement when asked to comment on complaints from parents who were asked to pay at least half the fee.

In regards to this, Goh proposed that all quarters involved i.e. the school bus operators associations, the school boards and the Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs) to seek for a ‘win-win’ solution through amicable discussion.

“We hope the parents and the public could show empathy and support towards the school bus operators in this difficult time as, all these years they have been sending and fetching our children from the school without fail, rain or shine,” he said in a statement issued today.

He noted that, of late, Huazong has received numerous complaints from the school bus operators, throughout the country, over the devastating hardship they were in, as the results of the Covid-19 pandemic and school closure.

On government’s recent proposal to allow school bus operators to transport factory workers to cover their losses incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, they pointed out that such a proposal was not really helpful to them, as most of the factories have had their own transportation in place, all these while.

Goh meanwhile welcomed the Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong’s recent statement that, the government will announce a special recovery package to help school bus drivers who are facing financial difficulty, within this month. He posted this on his Facebook page after meeting up with representatives from the school bus organizations.

He further noted that, Huazong has also come out with a 10-point proposal for the government’s consideration, to better assist the school bus operators, as follows:

1. Government should not impose any harsh regulation on the school bus operators on charging of school bus fee, instead to facilitate an amicable discussion among all quarters involved, with the chief aim of achieving a ‘win-win’ solution.

2. Welcomes the government’s move to provide special recovery package to the school bus operators, to help them to get through this difficult situation.

3. It is hoped that like what has been given to the tour bus operators, the government could also consider giving the school bus operators a cash aid of RM600.

4. To provide special discount on road tax and insurance charges throughout the period of non-operating of school bus service.

5. To provide special rebate on permit renewal.

6. To provide special rebate on Puapakom vehicle inspection.

7. To also extend the low interest or zero interest SME financing to the school bus operators.

8. To provide one-time GKP (Geran Khas Prihatin) cash aid of RM3,000 to those bus operators who are qualified for it.

9. To consider relaxing or allowing for extension of the age limit for the school bus.

10. To facilitate an amicable negotiation between the school bus operators, the school boards, and the Parents and Teachers Associations (PTAs), to better resolve the issue of school bus fee payment during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period. This is in order to avoid unnecessary disputes and arguments between the bus operators and the parents.-pr/BNN