June 15, 2019
The long-standing issue related with roll-on/roll-off (roro) ferry service here in Labuan Island seemed has no ending.
The challenges of the ferry service getting more heated during festive seasons and in recent festive season of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the warning was clear after many passengers complained their inconveniences in their trips from Labuan to Menumbok and vice versa.
After enjoying and spending their time with their respective family during the festive season, they had to endure the unpleasant situation where some of them could not get into the ferry due to the limited service of the roro ferry despite the latter’s best effort to provide additional trips to transport the vehicles and passengers.
The ferry operators simply could not meet the high demand of the vehicles and passengers.
In a recent meeting between Labuan Corporation Advisory Council and the representatives of the ferry operators, the former spoke about their suggestion for the latter to provide online service to purchase the ticket and to provide additional trips.
According to the council, the ferry operator had announced that another new ferry will operate soon as part of their solution to resolve the inconveniences experienced by the travellers between Labuan and Menumbok.
After the ‘Black History’ in Labuan where many of the employees in the oil and gas industry were being laid off since early 2015, the island was a bit less hectic especially in the town area where many of the former employees in the industry had to leave this island, which resulted decrease in number of the vehicles.
The roro ferry business was also affected until recently during the festive season where many reported stranded in Menumbok with their vehicles.
It is an indicator that something is happening in Labuan; other than the number of the vehicles and population increasing, the economy is showing sign of growth even not rapid.
A source from a hotel in the island told that their business is showing slight improvement after the bad days due to the slump in the oil and gas sector.
Despite the suggestions by the council above, they were not really the prime solutions for the problem experienced by the roro passengers especially in the long run though they could lessen the problem temporarily, as the number of vehicles and passengers those using the ferry service were expected to increase.
To have Labuan-Sabah Bridge in the near future to resolve the problem is not an option either if we looked into the current situation especially after the study to build the bridge that was previously approved by the previous government being cancelled by the present administration.
Even though, the federal government told to the media that the bridge project was still on the table to be discussed further; it would probably remain a dream for the leaders and people in Labuan for many years ahead, as the promises had been made over and over again within two decades and even more.
Probably, the council had to work and brainstorm more in order to resolve the issue above for the people’s convenience especially during the festive season, as the similar problem was expected to occur again in the next festive season lest some resolutions had been made.
The people of Labuan is giving their hopes to the leaders in the island to iron out the problem once and for all.