In a press release today, acting SRB controller Lt-Col Ding Tiew Wong, said that the first phase of the operation is tentatively scheduled from May 26 until 31, while the second phase will be from June 4 until 6.
On that note, he reminded boat operators and passengers to abide by the Sarawak Rivers Ordinance, 1993 and its subsidiary legislations.
“A total of 110 enforcement personnel supported by 12 speed boats will be involved in the operation. To date, there is no application for extra trips.
“Extra trips are based on demand and on ad hoc basis. Application for extra trips can be applied and approval can be granted on the spot,” he said.
Ding also reminded passenger boat operators that they must ensure that their vessels are fully equipped with life-saving equipment and in possession of valid River Transport Permit.“They are also not permitted to carry excess passengers; that is more than the number stated in the permit.
“Failing to adhere to this Regulation will render the owner/juragan (skipper) liable to a fine of RM5,000.00 and two years jail in accordance to Section 34  of the Sarawak Rivers Ordinance, 1993,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Ding said passengers traveling in open boats such as speedboats, longboats are advised to wear lifejackets, adding that the boat skippers are responsible for the safety of their passengers and should ensure that lifejackets are worn before proceeding with their journey.
The public are strongly advised not to navigate at night especially the long boats in the rivers where the navigation channel is narrow and shallow, he said.
“Kindly avoid navigating at night and take extra precaution while navigating along the rapids, sharp bends and transiting through bridges due to recent dry spell resulted river’s water level dropped significantly.”
Ding also advised passengers and members of the public not to crowd the terminal or jetty in order to avoid any untoward incident.
“Passengers are also advised to adhere to instructions relating to safety given by the Sarawak Rivers Board enforcement officers on duty at the terminal or jetty.”
Towards this end, Ding explained that these safety precautions are meant to ensure a “Safe Balik Kampung”.
“The Sarawak Rivers Board therefore appeals for cooperation from the boat operators, passengers, the public and other riverine users to adhere to all safety rules and guidelines to ensure the protection of lives and properties,” he said.