Sarawak to phase out diesel-powered buses gradually — Abang Jo

Masing (third from left) and other dignitaries giving their thumbs-up for the first CRRC Electric Bus in Sarawak.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Dec 11: Sarawak’s vision is to pursue the use of clean energy vehicles, and this means diesel-powered buses will be gradually phased out, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.

“Different types of new energy vehicles and technology will be directly pushing for the use of clean energy, where I believe electric buses can co-exist with hydrogen buses in the public transportation system,” he said at the launching of Sarawak’s first CRRC electric city bus at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) today.

His text-of-speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

On the public transportation system, Abang Johari said building roads and flyovers is not a long-term solution.

“It is important to have a more holistic approach in the development of our public transportation system in terms of design, planning and implementation.

“Building roads and flyovers is not a long-term solution. That is why the Sarawak government is initiating the LRT (light rail transit) project in Kuching,” he said.

However, his administration had to put the LRT initiative on hold in order to bring rural water, electricity, roads and bridges to the rural areas to narrow rural-urban gaps.

“But some quarters suggested that we should proceed with the LRT project, maybe for the Samarahan to Kuching line, which is badly congested.

“Nonetheless, we will consider and make known our final decision at the appropriate time. There is a phrase that says ‘better to do it sooner than later’,” said Abang Johari, who holds the view that a well-planned public transportation system is a combination of MRT (mass rapid transit), LRT, monorail, bus rapid transit (BRT), stage and feeder buses.

Abang Johari also welcomed foreign direct investment from CRRC, China.

“Being the world’s second largest economy, China has become a very important trading and business partner for Sarawak and the rest of the world.

“The Sarawak government is constantly exploring potential trade opportunities and technologies available. Today, we have the China state-owned electric bus manufacturing company that is bringing in their end product to showcase to us and launch it here,” said Abang Johari.

He said not many companies like CRRC were willing to invest millions of ringgit to produce this prototype electric bus for the Sarawak market and Malaysia, as a whole.

“Furthermore, they have chosen Kuching for their first official product launching. I would like to thank CRRC for their commitment and dedication by showing to others Sarawak’s seriousness in pursuing clean energy technology.

“We all know CRRC’s core technology is in rail or High-Speed Train manufacturing. I have also been informed that this electric city bus is also adhering to and adopting the concept of CRRC’s High-Speed Train manufacturing technology,” he said. — DayakDaily