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Ministry of Transport Sarawak (MOTS)

Pending rep urges S’wak govt to provide updates on the proposed ART system
Posted on : 18 Jul 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING: Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong has urged the state government to provide full disclosure and updates on the much-publicised autonomous rail transit (ART) system in the state.

“The Sarawak state government had in September 2019 announced that the ART was expected to be operational in year 2022. However, the targeted operational date was further postponed to the year 2025 as announced by the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg at the beginning of this year,” she said in a statement.

Given the delayed operation date for the project, Yong questioned whether the state government had carried out any thorough and in-depth study before making an announcement to replace the initially suggested light rail transit project with ART.

Apart from being expensive and costly to maintain, Yong remarked it was a well-known fact that ART system had never been proven successful in any country and China was only one supplier for system and thus, resulting in high maintenance cost.

“Just like the three hydrogen buses project which faces many technical issues, the state government is adopting the China technology for the ART too,” she said.

While opting for ART for the state’s public transport system may sound sophisticated, Yong remarked that the state government had not made any frank disclosure about it as of date.

Moreover, Yong said she had not seen any proposed master plan about the ART system being released by the state government.

“I believe many are asking for the plan but somehow, up till now, it is still unavailable. The people are kept in the dark about the location of the ART stations, the actual route of the ART lines and the amount of money to be spent in implementing this ART project.”

The assemblywoman also asked how much had already been spent on the project, the effectiveness of the transportation system, whether the mode of transport will operate on petrol or hydrogen energy and which company was awarded the project.

“How much is the state government going to subsidise Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) yearly when the ART project comes into full operation? What is the proposed fare for the public to use the ART service?

Until the state government provides a ‘frank and full disclosure’ on the ART project, Yong was of the opinion that the government should not use taxpayers’ money to ‘bulldoze over a project which is full with uncertainties.’

“We do not want our state government to continue spending the taxpayers’ money by implementing projects which may only sound good in the ears and to just satisfy the ego of the few, but impractical to solve the public’s woes at all.”

“Otherwise, the ART project will end up becoming another white elephant project,” said Yong.

The Borneo Post, July 18, 2020