Pending rep to Premier: Is it ‘Autonomous Rapid Transit’ or ‘Automated Rapid Transit’?

Abang Johari (left) and Yong.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 20: Pending lawmaker Violet Yong (PH-DAP) is seeking clarification from Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg whether the ART project in Sarawak is defined as ‘Autonomous Rapid Transit’ or ‘Automated Rapid Transit’.

She claimed to notice that from the many press reports, the abbreviation ART when mentioned by Abang Johari and other Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders, was referring to ‘Autonomous Rapid Transit’.

“But in the Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd’s Website, the abbreviation ART is referred to as Automated Rapid Transit. So which is which? Are we going for autonomous, or are we going for automated?

“These are two different systems totally. One is with driver that is automated. Autonomous is without driver and you need 5G as the network foundation to run the system. So now, please tell Sarawakians which system are we going to use.

“Why did you announce it as autonomous before, but are now downgrading it? Or is it a downgrade to automated? Let’s be frank,” Yong said when debating on the Governor’s Address at Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.

She alleged that Abang Johari firstly said Sarawak would have a LRT (Light Rail Transit) system, before “downgrading” it to Autonomous Rail Transit and finally Automated Rail Transit.

At the same time, she also demanded that the Sarawak Government disclose whether there was a proper demand analysis conducted by the real experts for the ART project.

“If there is one, please make it public. I have not read any information mentioning it and also data collection which covers route maps, vehicle and customer counts, occupancy surveys, boarding and alighting surveys, etcetera.”

She believed that it is important to have such data and information so that the decision to opt for the ART system is based on the needs of customers and not for political reasons where its benefits would accrue to a few politically powerful people.

“Information has revealed that there will be 15 stops for the Samarahan Line from Rembus Depot to Hikmat Exchange whereas for the Serian Line, there will be 13 stops from JPJ Batu 12 to Borneo Convention Centre. May I know whether these stations get identified and decided based on public transport demand or not? What is the ridership of each station?”

“Where does the ridership come from when many people staying in Samarahan and Serian are comfortable driving cars as their mode of transportation?

“How is the State government going to convert overnight the people who drive to work to be ART commuters? Has it ever crossed your mind that families who are so used to getting into their vehicles to send their children to school and then to work would be willing to suddenly get a taxi or a bus, and do more walking under the extreme weather just to take the ART?” said Yong who also raised questions why Sarawak Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin did not make statement about the project and why should Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd have to be set up to handle KUTS when there is the existence of the Sarawak Transport Ministry.

She claimed that until the Sarawak government provides a full and frank disclosure of this Sarawak ART Project, it should not put billions of taxpayers’ money at risk. — DayakDaily