Restrictions mulled against entry of vehicles from neighbouring country
Indonesian registered vehicles could face restrictions when entering Sarawak to arrest the growing ‘van sapu’ (pirate taxi) menace.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau yesterday did not deny that this was a possibility since Brunei Darussalam had already enforced a ban on Indonesian vehicles.
However, he said the issue should be brought to the federal government first as the issue was better “tackled on a government-to-government level”.
“The activities of pirate taxis from Indonesia have reached a serious level. I will bring the issue to the cabinet for discussion and perhaps for a government-to-government level talk,” Lau told a press conference after a dialogue at the Road Transport Department (JPJ) office here.
Lau said the foreign pirate taxis were compounding the problems posed by the local pirate taxi operators.
He added that the activity carried out by the Indonesians was no longer confined to Kuching alone, but had reached the northern parts of the state.
The almost two-hour dialogue was attended by 11 organisations related to the transport industry, including the police.
Lau also told reporters that JPJ, police and local councils had been directed to act on pirate taxi activities by both Indonesians and locals. He noted that such activity was so rampant that it had caused the closure of two bus companies.
“In Kuching, I am sad to note that two bus companies have closed down after incurring heavy losses due to stiff competition from pirate taxis.
“And JPJ, police and local councils have been directed to go all out to nail the problem,” Lau asserted.
Meanwhile, statistics provided to the media revealed that 9,480 Indonesian vehicles, including government vehicles, entered the state last year compared to 13,676 the previous year. The state also recorded 4,006 Indonesian vehicles during a six-month period this year.