Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Forced to walk when bus drivers protest toll rise - Should we support the struggle for rights?

One of the fundamental rights of workers is the right to fight for their rights or to fight against injustice - and in so doing, one legal form is to go on 'strike'. Now, whenever workers go on strike or take on some other form of protest (including presumably what the drivers of factory buses did), third parties tend to also be put into some form of hardship. Well, how do we respond to this hardship? Blame the workers, the lorry drivers in this case, or the protestors fighting for rights....OR do we understand and appreciate this struggle for rights, and are willing to suffer the said 'hardship' we must endure in solidarity. We should, I believe, rightly not be against these workers (or bus drivers) but really be with them against the government or parties that really have suddenly increased toll rates MORE than 3 times. (Before RM2.30, now RM7.80 for busses - i.e. about 3.4 times more than the original).

Of course, some are rich and they would not feel the impact, but for the poor, it is a quite a big matter - when tolls increase drastically. 

I reiterate that it is sad when the Press does not cover such worker issues and struggles... is there a 'blackout' being imposed on the media on certain matters?

See also earlier post:- 

Some 100 bus drivers staged a 'creative' protest (a peaceful assembly) to express dissatisfaction about toll charges...in Malaysia

Workers walk across Causeway after factory buses refuse to pay new toll charges 
Published on Aug 1, 2014 10:08 AM
JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Scores of Malaysian factory workers travelling to Singapore were forced to walk across the Causeway on Friday morning after factory buses refused to cross the checkpoint following the implementation of new toll charges.

Front office executive Adrian Dinesh, 30, said it looked as if a marathon was taking place along the Causeway.

"Hundreds of workers were forced to walk and this is because the buses just did not want to go through," he said.

He added that the groups of people started walking across the Causeway as early as 5am.

Many have voiced dissatisfaction over the new toll charges, saying that the increase of more than 400 per cent was too steep.

The Malaysian Highway Authority announced last week that from Aug 1, motorists travelling to Singapore via the Causeway must now pay a total of RM16.50 (S$6.40) for inbound and outbound toll charges at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex.

Crossing the Causeway: How much it costs now

Old New (From Aug 1)

Only one-way
(Singapore to Johor)
Singapore to Johor Johor to Singapore Round trip
Private cars RM2.90 (S$1.14) RM9.70 RM6.80 RM16.50
Small lorries RM4.50 RM14.70 RM10.20 RM24.90
Heavy lorries RM6.10 RM19.70 RM13.60 RM33.30
Taxis RM1.40 RM4.80 RM3.40 RM8.20
Buses RM2.30 RM7.80 RM5.50 RM13.30
* Motorcycles are exempted.
Source: Malaysian Highway Authority
ST Graphics by Derrick Ho | Compiled by Ling Chang Hong

A controversy erupted following the decision to impose toll collection at the CIQ as it forces those who do not use the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) but want to travel to Singapore to also pay the charges.

The EDL is an elevated highway built to help disperse traffic heading into the Johor Baru city area.

There are several exits from the EDL, with the last leading directly into the CIQ complex. Motorists using the elevated 8.6km highway are not tolled if they do not go through the CIQ complex.

All charges must be paid electronically at both sides using Touch 'n' Go cards, with cash payments no longer possible.

The new toll rates for vehicles coming into Malaysia are now RM9.70, RM14.70, RM19.70, RM4.80 and RM7.80 for the respective Class 1 to Class 5 vehicles.

The previous inbound charges ranged from RM1.40 (for taxis) to RM6.10 (for vehicles with three or more axles).

The new rates for outbound vehicles are RM6.80, RM10.20, RM13.60, RM3.40 and RM5.50.

Motorcyclists are exempted from paying toll. - The Straits Times, 1/8/2014
- See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/workers-walk-across-causeway-after-factory-buses-refuse-pay-new-toll#sthash.qGLAVwdv.dpuf

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