MELAKA, Dec 11: Kuching will be the first city in Malaysia to have hydrogen-powered buses on its roads by July 2018.
The state government has ordered three such buses from China as part of the hydrogen research and development programme undertaken by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government was allocating RM10 million for the research programme to be carried out by SEB under its Hydrogen Research Unit.
The research allocation would include the setting up of a plant with foreign expertise to produce hydrogen gas to power the buses, said Abang Johari.
He made the announcement before 170 participants during the closing of the three-day “High Performance Team Retreat 2017” programme for heads of departments and senior state government officials held at a local hotel here yesterday.
The chief minister said the acquisition of the emissions-free buses was part of a long term plan to ensure that Sarawak’s public transportation system would be running on clean energy in accordance with current worldwide trends to protect the environment.
Apart from hydrogen-powered buses, Abang Johari had also announced that the proposed LRT connecting Kuching with Serian, Samarahan and Damai would also run on hydrogen.
The hydrogen buses would be allocated to various agencies including one for tourism as a strategy to attract tourists and to create the image of Kuching as an environmentally-friendly and clean energy city.
With such an image, he believed that the capital city would have a strong tourist pull factor to enable it to become a tourism gateway much like Melaka.
Although a small state, Melaka has been serving as an entry point for visitors from various part of Asia before they dispersed to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia, he added.
Similarly, he said, Kuching and various areas up to Serian should be developed to become a tourism hub or anchor area to attract tourists before they would fan out to visit other parts of Sarawak.
He pointed out that in line with the current shift towards environmental-friendly industries, Sarawak should also re-evaluate its foreign investments which tend to bring in pollutant emitting industries.
He said although the state’s FDI (foreign direct investment) record might look good by accepting heavy industries, Sarawak would pay a price when these industries started to pollute the environment.
In the later part of the evening, the chief minister who was accompanied by his wife, Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang attended a dinner to mark the closing of the annual retreat.
Also present were the Menteri Besar of Melaka, Datuk Seri Utama Ir. Idris Haron, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, and Sarawak State Secretary Tan Sri Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani. — DayakDaily