Sunday, September 22

Eco-friendly buses for Sarawak

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KUCHING: Keeping up with the nation’s call to introduce more green technology usage in every field possible, the state is considering to introduce eco-friendly buses as part of its revamping of the public transportation system here.

POSITIVE VENTURE: Abang Johari and Jelonek (right) browse through a book highlighting Sarawak’s arts, culture and heritage.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, when meeting up with Polish Ambassador Adam Jelonek at his office at Wisma Sultan Tengah at Petra Jaya, near here, stated that the Ministry was looking into the possibility of collaborating with Poland on this venture.

“The state has always been interested in introducing environmental friendly technologies. I have emphasised to the ambassador that we are looking into green technology and we hope to introduce the usage of such buses here. It can either be gas or electric buses,” Abang Johari told reporters after receiving the courtesy call from the Polish Ambassador yesterday.

He added that the main issue would not be on the acquisition of the buses but more towards sustainability, as he highlighted that Sarawak must be able to maintain such buses.

Amongst the topics discussed were the possibility of having an in-depth training of local technicians and engineers provided by the Eastern European country itself.

“The ambassador has mentioned that he is willing to assist the state’s effort to improve its public transport system because Poland is renowned in Europe for producing quality and environmental friendly buses,” he stressed further.

“The working relations between Sarawak and Poland on this proposed venture would be on a whole package, where Poland would introduce the green technology buses and provide training for the locals, especially on maintenance issues,” Abang Johari highlighted.

He stated that the possibility of the venture taking off was positive, as the Polish side was very enthusiastic in the venture. The only question the State had to consider now was on costing.

Abang Johari hoped that there would be a certain arrangement between the two countries, where the state could acquire such buses at a reasonable cost.

“Looking at (some) of the current buses we have on our roads, in five to seven years, they have to be changed. As we just started to embark on this public transportation transformation programme, it is better for us to plan early,” he continued.

Abang Johari also suggested that since Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) would be setting up a regional office in Warsaw, local companies should take the opportunity in exploring these possibilities with Polish companies, as part of its bit to help the state.

Another topic for collaboration being contemplated between Sarawak and Poland during the courtesy visit yesterday, were on cultural exchange programmes between Kuching and Warsaw.

“Kuching’s very own performing arts and other artistic values such as concerts and music could be introduced in Poland and vice versa. Arts culture is very rich in Eastern European countries. Obviously the arts and cultural exchange between the two countries would only enriched our cultures further,” he added.

Delighted with the potential collaboration, Abang Johari stressed that all this was due to Jelonek’s desire to strengthen the pivotal relations between Poland and Malaysia, Sarawak in particular.

The Polish Ambassador was accompanied by personnel from its ambassadorial office here, namely Jedrzej Majewski and Katarzyna Wilkowiecka.