Subsidised diesel quota too low for school and express bus operators, says transport group

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

JOHOR BARU, June 11 — The Subsidised Diesel Regulation System (SKDS) must be reviewed as the allocation for public transport operators was inadequate to cushion the effects of floating the retail price for diesel, said a national passenger bus organisation

Secretariat Gabungan Bas Malaysia (SGBM) chairman R. Thiagarajan said the new structure with quotas for subsidised diesel was especially burdensome for operators of school and express buses, being significant enough that some firms may go out of business.

“A proper study on the actual needs of the industry in a month should be undertaken and not the practice of setting quotas without any discussions or agreement.

“Effective implementation should take into account on the actual needs of the transport industry.

“The quota given to public transport needs to be reviewed so that those affected can cover their monthly operating costs without having to bear the additional cost after the diesel quota is exhausted,” Thiagarajan told Malay Mail when contacted today.

He was responding to the government’s SKDS quota following the removal of the blanket subsidy for diesel, which caused it to rise to RM3.35 per litre at fuel stations in Peninsular Malaysia from yesterday.

Thiagarajan, who is also the Pertubuhan Manfaat Pengusaha dan Pemandu Bas Negeri Johor chairman, said there was anxiety within the industry over the level of assistance offered.

He said many considered the monthly quota offered, which was capped at 1,800 litres for school buses and 2,880 litres for express buses, was inadequate for a month’s usage.

“Our needs need to be considered by offering sufficient and consistent diesel quotas.

“We understands and support the Madani government's move, but the quotas need to be progressive,” he said, adding he hoped that the federal government would consider their views and suggestions on the matter.

On Sunday, the government announced that the retail price of diesel in the peninsula would be RM3.35 per litre effective June 10 under the targeted subsidy system.

However, diesel prices remain capped at RM2.15 per litre in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

Under the diesel subsidy rationalisation, the government has set diesel prices for eligible sectors, including SKDS 2.0 for logistics vehicles at RM2.15 per litre; SKDS 1.0 for land public transport, including school buses, express buses, ambulances and fire engines remains at RM1.88 per litre; and subsidised diesel for fishermen is maintained at RM1.65 per litre.

The government said the move to remove the blanket subsidy could save it as much as RM4 billion annually by reducing losses to abuse and smuggling.