KUCHING: The Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project's System Package 1 contract awarded to EPR Mobilus GR JV Sdn Bhd is worth RM1.425bil.
The contract involves the supply of the rolling stock, which is the hydrogen-powered autonomous rapid transit (ART) vehicles, depot equipment and maintenance vehicles, signalling and control system and the automative platform gate.
Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mazli Mustaffa handed over the letter of award to EPR Mobilus GR JV directors Syahrir Iman Suib, Chan Chee Kian and Wilson Fan here today.
The JV company partners are EPR (Kuching) Sdn Bhd, Mobilus Sdn Bhd and Global Rail Sdn Bhd.
At the same event, Sarawak Metro also exchanged a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with property developers Ibraco Bhd and Naim Holdings Bhd's subsidiary Peranan Makmur on collaborations to develop ART stations near their property development projects - The NorthBank (along Kuching-Samarahan Expressway) and Kuching Paragon (along Jalan Batu Lintang) - respectively.
Ibraco was represented by its group managing director Datuk Chew Chiaw Han while Peranan Makmur by its director Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Julai.
Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Sri Lee Kim Shin,who represented Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, witnessed the event.
Sarawak Metro is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sarawak Economic Development Corp (SEDC) tasked by the state government to implement the ambitious mega project.
The KUTS Phase 1 will initially involve the construction and operation of two lines: Samarahan Line (Line 1) (28.5km, including 14 stations, one interchange station and one depot) and Serian Line (Line 2) (24.5km, including 13 stations, one interchange and one depot).
EPR Mobilus GR JV is working with CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Company Ltd and CIMC-Hexagon Hydrogen Systems Ltd (suppliers of the hydrogen-powered ART vehicles; Thales (supplier of the signalling and control system); Fangda Innotech Company Ltd (supplier of the automatic platform gate) and DOM Industries (M) Sdn Bhd and CRRC Zhuzhou (supplier of the depot equipment and maintenance vehicles).
Abang Johari said the state government has recently approved Sarawak Metro's proposal for the ART alignment for Phase 1 of the KUTS project to include a new line towards the Santubong peninsula, a tourist destination.
Among other considerations, the alignment looks at future development plans for the Santubong peninsula and the great potential for growth for the area with the tourism and leisure sector as the main catalyst.
Johari said this new alignment will be about 20km longer than the one proposed earlier by Sarawak Metro.
"We have managed to keep the overall cost of the project to below RM6bil through Sarawak Metro's ongoing value engineering initiative."
SEDC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Husain said the KUTS project is moving on the right track, adding that its System Package 2 tender had closed on Monday.
Package 2 involves telecommunication, supervisory control and data acquisition, automatic fare collection, a computerised maintenance management system, an operation control centre and an information technology system.
Passenger service for the ART is scheduled to be introduced in stages, starting from the fourth quarter-2025, with full completion of the Phase 1 project (Line 1 and 2) by 2027.
The project's pre-engineering and soil investigation activities throughout the Samarahan and Serian Lines are currently underway. The project's civil and structure works are expected to commence in the current quarter.
Abang Johari said the milestone achieved by Sarawak Metro in the KUTS project is a significant achievement for China as the country of origin of the supplier of the ART system.
He said as the ART propulsion system will be powered by hydrogen, this is in line with Sarawak's green hydrogen agenda and the development of Sarawak's hydrogen economy.
"Just as we are trailblazers in the development of our digital economy, we are trailblazers in the hydrogen economy. The application of hydrogen to transform our public transport system is a further testament to our commitment towards further improving the social economy of Sarawak," he added.