The first city in the country to use such buses as part of SEB’s research and development programme
MELAKA: Kuching will be the first city in the country to have hydrogen-powered bus on its roads when its order for three such buses arrives from China by July next year.
The project is part of the hydrogen research and development programme undertaken by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government would be allocating RM10 million for the research programme to be carried out by SEB under its Hydrogen Research Unit.
“The research allocation would also include the setting up of a plant with foreign expertise to produce hydrogen gas to power the buses,” he said through a press statement yesterday.
He made the announcement in his speech during the closing of a three-day retreat for heads of state departments and senior state government officials at a hotel here on Sunday.
He pointed out that the acquisition of the emission-free buses is part of a long term plan to ensure that Sarawak’s public transportation system is run on clean energy in accordance with current worldwide trend to protect the environment.
The chief minister had previously revealed that the proposed Light Railway Transit (LRT) connecting Kuching with Serian, Samarahan and Damai would also be run on hydrogen. The hydrogen buses would be assigned to agencies, including one for tourism, as a strategy to attract tourists with Kuching’s environment-friendly and clean energy image, he told the 170-odd participants.
With such an image, he believed that the capital city would have a strong tourist pull factor to enable it to become a tourism gateway much like Melaka.
Although a small state, Melaka had been serving as an entry point for visitors from various parts of Asia before dissipating to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia, he added.
Similarly, he said Kuching and areas up to Serian should be developed to become a tourism hub or anchor area to attract tourists before they fan out to visit other parts of Sarawak.
He pointed out that in line with current shift towards environment-friendly industries, Sarawak should also re-evaluate foreign investments which tend to bring in pollutant emitting industries.
He said although the state’s FDI record might look good by accepting heavy industries, Sarawak would have to pay a price if the industries pollute the environment.
Later in the evening, the Chief Minister who was accompanied by his wife Datuk Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang attended a dinner to mark the closing of the annual retreat.
Also present were the Menteri Besar of Melaka Datuk Seri Utama Idris Haron, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Sarawak State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani.