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By Nur Ashikin Louis
KUCHING, Nov 29: Sarawak’s hydrogen buses are safe for use and cost less than RM 1.5 million each, not RM4 million to RM5 million, says Sarawak Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.
He clarified that the three hydrogen buses in Kuching which are under a trial run since 2020, have already been issued Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) by the federal government, which means that the vehicles have been duly tested and approved as a mode for mobility.
“The results from the trial run since 2020 showed that the vehicles are performing well. This shows that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is a responsible government. We do not simply introduce new technology without proper testing and technical assessment.
“The number of technical issues faced are considered typical for any similar sized buses in the market, whether they are battery-electric powered buses or powered by diesel engines.
“Our technical team, assisted by the manufacturer’s team of engineers and technicians have addressed the issues which are standard in nature,” he said in response to issues raised by Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong Wui Wui on the hydrogen bus trial operation when delivering his ministerial winding up speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
He also refuted Yong’s allegation that the hydrogen buses have been grounded often this year by clarifying that out of 300 days this year (January to October 2022), the hydrogen buses were put under inspection and maintenance by local technicians for only 16 days or 5.3 per cent.
He also cited data by China’s Foshan Feichi Automobile Manufacture Company’s assessment report on the hydrogen buses dated Aug 25, 2022, which reads: “From our overall observation, we are impressed with the performance of the hydrogen buses. The local technicians had done an admirable job in maintaining the vehicles over the past two years in ensuring the buses were safe and roadworthy. The local technicians were able to perform the maintenance and servicing works with our guidance through regular communication using digital platforms, even until today. We continue to provide the required support to maintain the buses and we are happy to see that the local technicians had done a good job in taking care of the buses as all the three buses are in very good condition.”
On hydrogen bus prices, he said the existing three hydrogen buses cost less than RM 1.5 million each, not RM4 million to RM5 million as alleged, whereby the price is subject to technical specifications, model and quantity.
At the same time, Lee cleared up rumours that 100 hydrogen buses are required to complement the service of the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system, stating that the number of buses can only be finalised when operation plans are firmed up and the buses will be provided in stages according to the ART development phases. — DayakDaily