KUCHING, July 8 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) has approved two checking stations upriver in Sungai Rajang, including in Belaga, which has commenced operations since July 1 this year while the one in Pelagus will be operational once a suitable place is identified, its chairman Datuk Roland Sagah said today.
He said due to limited enforcement manpower SRB could not station its enforcement personnel at all passenger embarkation/disembarkation points along the major rivers in Sarawak at present. "The board has called for tender for the construction of exist/entry gates at Kapit, Sibu, Song and Kuching passenger terminals and safety railing at Kapit passenger terminal, where only passengers with tickets will be allowed entry into the boats to ensure that ticketed passengers have seats and prevent overloading," he said in a statement here. He said SRB, which appreciated the concern of the various non-governmental organisations in Kapit pertaining to the safety of river transport, was doing its best to ensure the safety of all riverine users in the state. In calling on the public to exercise self-regulation by not boarding an overloaded boat to ensure their own safety, he said, all express passenger boats were marked with 'Had Penumpang' on both sides of the boat's entrance to inform the public ON the number of passenger the boat was permitted to carry. On May 28 this year, the ill-fated 'Kawan Mas' express boat, which was overloaded with over 200 passengers, capsized in the Rajang River near Belaga due to a series of accidents, including hitting a log and developing engine failure that caused it to drift and hit a submerged rock. -- BERNAMA CJ AO