Institution urged to create bigger pool of skilled manpower to meet demands of evolving transportation, mobility industries

Lee (fifth left) symbolically launching the IRSE Malaysia 2023 Conference using an authentic ‘signal’ flag that was used in the past for rail operations in the country on April 5, 2023.

KUCHING, April 5: Ministry of Transport Sarawak encourages the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) Malaysia to play its part in creating a greater pool of certified and skilled manpower, be it engineers and technicians, that can meet the demands and trends in the transportation and mobility industry.

Addressing the IRSE Malaysia 2023 Conference held at Riverside Majestic Hotel here today, Minister for Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin said having the conference in Sarawak this year was well timed to coincide with Sarawak’s move to incorporate new technology in the public transportation sector, namely the development of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project.

“As technology is constantly evolving, the need to have certified and skilled manpower is vital to meet the demands of the industry. We hope this could create awareness of the career opportunities in railway signal, communication, and system engineering among the youths.

“We now have ready examples for youths to emulate to pursue their career in signalling and communication engineering,” he said in acknowledging IRSE’s focus on improving railway safety standards and enhancing the competency of railway signalling, communication, and system engineers.

Pointing out that the KUTS project aimed to ease traffic congestion in Greater Kuching, Lee said the development is also in response to the Sarawak government’s intention to decarbonise public transportation by utilising zero-emission vehicles.

“I am happy to say that Sarawak is already embarking on the utilisation of zero-emission vehicles with the introduction of our hydrogen-powered buses which are currently on trial operations, while the KUTS project will also utilise the hydrogen-powered Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) vehicle to provide reliable and sustainable transportation,” he shared, according to a media release today.

As such, Lee said the conference was an ideal platform for the sharing of knowledge and expertise, especially for those involved in the public transport industry.

“This conference will be beneficial to those involved in public transportation and it augurs well for Sarawak’s efforts to modernise the public transport network in the State,” he added.

Shahrizaman (second left) presenting Mazli with the IRSE Malaysia Section Chairman’s instrument of office, witnessed by Lee and other invited guests on April 5, 2023.

Organised by IRSE Malaysia Section and Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd, the response to IRSE Malaysia 2023 Conference, held for the first time in Kuching, has been overwhelming, with more than 200 delegates attending the two-day conference which kicked off today.

Meanwhile, conference organising chairman Ir Shahrizaman Zamhury, also called on IRSE members to work together to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“The transportation industry is one of the major contributors of greenhouse emissions and we cannot ignore the impact this sector has on the environment,” he said.

The outgoing chairman of IRSE Malaysia Section however was happy to see there have been significant changes made in the transportation industry with some already adopting more sustainable practices and gradually transitioning to utilising green technology.

“At IRSE, we have a vital role to support this transition besides adopting safety standard practices in railway. We must encourage and support our members and the public in adopting sustainable practices, and we must also work to develop new technologies that can help to achieve our goals,” he added.

The launching ceremony was also attended by Deputy Minister for Transport Sarawak Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Sarawak Dato Ir Alice Jawan Empaling, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain, Sarawak Metro chief executive officer (CEO) Ts Mazli Mustaffa and IRSE president Andy Knight.

At the same event, the delegates also witnessed the installation of Mazli as the new chairman of IRSE Malaysia Section.

The installation ceremony was marked by the handing over of the IRSE Chairman’s instrument of office, in the form of a signaling token key, which was used in signalling systems in the past to provide access for trains to go on tracks between two stations.

Earlier in his welcoming speech, Mazli expressed his hope to inculcate greater interest among the local youths to take up a career in signal and communication engineering.

“Our hope is also to encourage the younger generation to specialise in this field of signalling and communication, as these two components of engineering will be widely applied to our very own KUTS project,” he said.

The two-day conference registered delegates from Sarawak, Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, India, and the United Kingdom.

The 10 papers scheduled to be presented at the two-day conference are “Shaping the Future” by Andy Knight; “Transforming Public Transport for Sarawak” by Dato Ir Alice Jawan Empaling; “New Approach and Challenges on Signalling CBTC for Private LTE System” by Mohd Azrul Osman; “Metro Signalling Safety, from Generic Product to a Safety Operating System” by Robert Cooke; “The Role of the Railway System in Achieving Future Net-Zero Emissions by Ismail Abdullah; “Transportation Planning in Nusantara New Capital City of Indonesia” by Ahmad Sugiana; “Mobility-as-a-Service for Emerging Markets” by Ramachandran Muniandy; “An Alternative Approach for Train Localisation in Urban Railway Setting Harnessing the Trends in the Digital System for LRT Kelana Jaya” by Ir Jasbinder Singh; “Challenges in Charting New Ground” by Mohd Samsir bin Saudah; and “Interconnection and Intelligence of Urban Rail Transit” by Liu Wei. — DayakDaily