SEDC wants federal tax exemption to enable expansion of hydrogen bus fleet

From left: Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mazli Mustaffa, Abdul Aziz, SEDC general manager Abdul Hadi Abdul Kadir and SEDC Energy Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Robert Hardin.

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Oct 13: SEDC hopes that the federal government will consider giving tax exemptions for vehicles using hydrogen fuel.

Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said this is so that the Sarawak government can expand its numbers of buses to improve the public transportation system in the state.

When answering a reporter’s question on if SEDC will consider extending bus services into rural areas or expanding its current routes which are only within Kuching city and Santubong, Abdul Aziz said if the pilot project is successful, they will definitively expand to other cities or towns in Sarawak.

“It all depends on the Sarawak government. If we want to expand, we will need to buy more hydrogen buses. If the federal government can consider giving tax exemption for these vehicles, then we can afford to buy more,” he said at a press conference after attending the Sarawak Hydrogen Society inaugural meeting today.

The Sarawak government is not only the first in Malaysia but also in Southeast Asia to invest in hydrogen fuel cell buses which is considered to be a zero-emission option.

Abdul Aziz added that such a tax exemption will also encourage others to adopt clean fuel and emulate Sarawak’s efforts to develop green economy.

Explaining further, he said: “It is an added opportunity for the government to venture into the hydrogen economy with the setting up of an integrated hydrogen production plant and refueling station. Like Sarawak, we are heading in the hydrogen economy direction as it (Sarawak) has competitive advantages in affordable and renewable power and abundant water resources which enable the production of clean hydrogen for public transport as well as for export.”

When Sarawak is capable in producing cheaper hydrogen, Abdul Aziz said they can sell it to other countries and that will contribute to the state’s economy.

Meanwhile, he asserted that the society is a significant step in realising Sarawak’s hydrogen economy by facilitating mutual partnerships and collaboration to promote the state’s hydrogen agenda.

The society is expected to facilitate the planning and implementation of a road map towards developing a sustainable hydrogen economy for Sarawak.

“It comprises members from the commercial, industrial, and manufacturing sectors together with the universities and research institutes in Sarawak with the same end in mind of how to bring the state to a greater height through the hydrogen economy.

“On Nov 2017, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said, with abundant clean hydroelectric power resources, Sarawak provides an ideal setting for enabling the hydrogen economy in the state and therefore, we should be taking pioneering steps to explore the commercial and public applications of hydrogen and fuel cell technology,” Abdul Aziz said. — DayakDaily