Ministry to scrutinise school bus contracts

Hakim Hayat

Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Haji Abdul Hamid @ Sabli bin Haji Arshad at the ongoing 17th LegCo session yesterday said that local companies with 100 per cent local workforce should be given priority in handling school buses, and not Ali Baba businesses.

On the sixth day of deliberations on the supply bill for the Ministry of Education (MoE) yesterday afternoon, the LegCo member observed that buses being used for public schools are those labelled with Bas Sewa Khas (Special Rental Bus) owned by foreigners and that only a few are using school bus permits.

He added that most of the drivers are also foreigners.

He suggested for the development of the area to make room for locals to generate job opportunities, and recommended that the ministry allows buses with permits to be used for schools, citing the example of yellow buses used in many other countries.

He also appealed for the ministry to only award the contract to 100 per cent local companies to operate the buses, with locals who are fully committed and not just renting out their businesses to foreigners, with the management prioritising local workforce.

“This will provide opportunities to more companies, instead of limiting the contracts to only a selected few like what is happening right now,” he said.

In his response, Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman said that the ministry “is currently carrying out a study on how to avoid the issue, which also needs the input of the members here on how we can jointly prevent this issue from worsening”. He also shared that the MoE is now actively looking into how the contracts were being awarded.

Legislative Council Member Yang Berhormat Haji Abdul Hamid @Sabli bin Haji Arshad. PHOTO: INFOFOTO