KUCHING, May 30 — Express boat services linking Kapit with other towns in central Sarawak were temporarily suspended today until further notice.
State Minister of Transport (MoT) Datuk Lee Kim Shin said this was due to both operators and passengers failing to adhere to the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
He added the order was issued by the Kapit Division Disaster Management Committee (KDDMC) after approval from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).
The routes affected are Kapit-Putai-Kapit; Sibu-Kapit-Putai-Kapit-Sibu; and Kapit-Belaga-Kapit.
“The decision made is indeed timely to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the Kapit Division, especially with the coming Gawai Dayak celebration on June 1, 2021,” he said in a statement.
“With this decision, the state MoT, through its agency, Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB), has issued a riverine notice to all affected owners and operators of the express boat as well as the public on the temporary suspension of the boat services until further notice,” he said.
Lee said SRB has also reminded express boat owners and operators to comply with the directive issued.
He added in tandem with the issuance of the riverine notice, SRB enforcement officers in Sibu and Kapit have been directed to closely monitor the situation on the ground.
“SRB will not hesitate to take action against any express boat owners or operators that go against the directive,” Lee said.
He added public safety is of the utmost importance, saying that the temporary suspension of express boat services into and within the Kapit Division will help to shore up the state government’s efforts at mitigating the rise in Covid-19 cases in the Kapit Division.
Among those who have voiced their frustrations at the public’s failure to comply with the SOPs were Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing and federal Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Nanta Linggi, who is also the Kapit MP.