Sarawak govt to study feasibility of using ART to connect Bintulu-Samalaju

Abang Johari addressing a press conference during a visit to a new affordable housing project site at Buan Land District, Tatau near Bintulu on Jan 10, 2023. Also seen is Dr Sim (left). Photo credit: Premier of Sarawak's Department

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KUCHING, Jan 10: The Sarawak government will start a feasibility study for an Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) line that will connect Bintulu and Samalaju.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said that the plan to have the ART came about considering that Samalaju Industrial Park and Kidurong Industrial Zone will see a significant increase in workforce to about 6,000 once the methanol and hydrogen plants are up.

“Currently, there are about 3,000 workers in Kidurong and with the methanol and hydrogen plant up, we could see an increase in commuters in and out of the areas.

“By 2024 or 2025, the Kemena Bridge will be completed and (the distance) from the airport to Bintulu will take about 10 minutes. From there, it would be connected with ART until Samalaju and Kidurong.

“The (proposed) ART will also serve Samalaju to Dudong including Tanjung Batu as well as to Tatau,” he told a press conference after visiting a new affordable housing project site at Buan Land District, Tatau near Bintulu today.

Suggesting that the ART project for Bintulu could be implemented after 2025, Abang Johari said the planning for this project would be much easier given that the development for ART in Kuching has commenced.

“As it will not involve the construction of a rail track, we would need to widen the roads to include a special lane for the ART vehicle to travel.

“These are the two points for ART with one heading to Samalaju and another to Tatau where BDA (Bintulu Development Authority) is set to develop the areas including for commercial and housing areas,” he added.

As a rapidly developing town in Sarawak, Abang Johari pointed out that Tatau can become a suburb or extension to Bintulu, like Samarahan to Kuching.

“This is our (Sarawak government) long-term plan for at least the next five to 10 years to make Tatau into a favourable suburb of Bintulu because with the Pan Borneo Highway completed, travel between Tatau to Bintulu could possibly only take 30 minutes.

“That’s the reason I’m here to look at the development in Tatau while attending a meeting with BDA,” he added.

Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai, State Secretary Datuk Amar Mohamad Abu Bakar Marzuki, Jepak assemblyman Datuk Talib Zulpilip, Tanjung Batu assemblyman Johnny Phang, Bintulu Division Resident Nyurak Keti, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) general manager Datu Muhamad Yakup Kari and deputy chairman Dato Haidar Khan Ashgar Khan were among those present. — DayakDaily