Sarawak’s big plan to cut air pollution

Abang Johari giving the thumbs-up to the new Perodua Bezza. With him is Zahari (left). — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The Sarawak government is looking to introduce electric-powered buses to complement its proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in a move to cut pollution.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state would carry out a study with experts before introducing the electric buses.

Although he has not set any time frame before the state could roll-out the environmentally-friendly public transportation service, the chief minister was optimistic the plan could materialise within the next 10 years.

“We are serious about introducing technology to change the landscape of Sarawak and we are looking at the transition from diesel buses to cleaner, sustainable fuel.

Moving away from diesel is an important strategy to reduce emission and improving air quality,” he told reporters after opening Perodua’s new showroom here.

Abang Johari said the state was also studying the viability of building charging stations and related infrastructure to support its initiative to provide electric-powered vehicles for the public.

“We will first test our charging stations module for the buses, which will be implemented in Kuching as a pilot project. A single charge can last the bus for at least three days.

“From there, we will see the feasibility of the concept before expanding it throughout the state,” he added.

Abang Johari said the electric buses would complement the proposed LRT system that the state was looking to build within the next three years.

The trunk route would cover Kuching, Samarahan all the way to Serian and the buses would transport passengers from the LRT stations, he added.

“Environment is a subject that is very close to the heart of the community and consumers. There is a transition of car technology from fossil fuel to renewable energy. The next 15 years. I foresee a great change in vehicle technology, where most cars will be powered by battery. In the years to come, we have to move forward and local car manufacturers should also start thinking along this line,” he said.

The chief minister pointed out that the acquisition of Bakun Dam would enable the state to pursue energy intensive industries, including the introduction of advance technology in various fields.

The state, able to produce its own sustainable energy consumption, will ensure that cheaper energy is used for public transportation.

Once Sarawak is able to produce methanol once its own plant is ready by 2021, Abang Johari said the state could also pursue the use of water-fuelled vehicles in the future.

Perodua Sales Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Dr Zahari Husin said the opening of its new showroom at Kota Samarahan by MD Worlds Sdn Bhd is the 13th in the state and 199th sales outlets in Malaysia.

MD Worlds is also targeting to expand the outlet into a full-fledged 3S centre by the end of next year.

“For the first quarter of this year, Perodua sold 50,300 vehicles, of which 7,300 came from Sarawak and Sabah. In total, Perodua has garnered 35% market share,” he said.

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