Sarawak mulls giving free bus rides in cities, towns

Masing (front, left), corporate leader Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg (Masing’s left), Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan (Abdul Karim’s left) and others at the launch of Sarawak’s first CRRC Electric City Bus at BCCK today (Dec 11, 2018).

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 11: The Sarawak government is considering providing free bus services in cities and towns across the state, but a decision can only be made after a comprehensive study is carried out.

“We will conduct a comprehensive study on this people-centric initiative. We believe this will not only solve traffic congestions in urban areas but more importantly reduce the high cost of living for the urban and rural poor and also benefit all Sarawakians,” said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the launching of Sarawak’s first CRRC Electric City Bus at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.

Abang Johari’s speech text was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

“I have been told this privately funded pilot project bus service is provided free to all locals and tourists for a duration of three months and will commence operation early next year,” said Abang Johari.

He added that Sarawak welcomed CRRC’s proposal to explore the possibility of setting up an electric bus assembly plant in collaboration with a local company here for local and regional markets should the opportunity arise.

“This is a good marketing strategy initiated by CRRC, and Sarawak can become their platform for the Asean market. The Sarawak government encourages foreign direct investment (FDI) that will directly create more jobs and business opportunities for Sarawakians,” he said.

Masing (fourth from left) at the launch of Sarawak’s first CRRC Electric City Bus.

On the electric bus, he explained that it would be equipped with five CCTVs, free WiFi, video passenger counter, Broadcasting Content Control System, and GPS Bus Tracking System Application.

In addition, it is also iser-friendly to people with disabilities.

“In conjunction with Visit Sarawak Year 2019, maybe the Ministry of Tourism can look into how best they can collaborate with CRRC by extending this free bus service for the entire Visit Sarawak Year or beyond.

“This is good publicity for Sarawak and its tourism industry in terms of promoting Sarawak as a sustainable eco-tourism destination,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily