KUCHING: The Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) Malaysia 2023 Conference is an ideal platform for the sharing of knowledge and expertise, especially for those involved in the public transport, says Minister for Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.
“This conference is beneficial to those involved in public transportation and it augurs well for Sarawak’s efforts to modernise its public transport network,” he said yesterday, while congratulating both IRSE Malaysia Section and Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd for organising the conference.
Response to the two-day conference, being held for the first time in Kuching, is overwhelming with more than 200 delegates in attendance.
Lee said he was impressed with the speakers’ line up, which is made up mostly of IRSE members from various countries, and that the speakers’ list was a good indicator of the organisation’s reputation as an internationally recognised professional engineering institution that has been around since 1912.
IRSE Malaysia was established in 2013.
Acknowledging IRSE’s focus on improving railway safety standards and enhancing the competency of railway signalling, communication, and system engineers, Lee said having the conference in Sarawak was well timed to coincide with Sarawak’s move to incorporate new technology in the public transportation sector, namely the development of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project.
Saying the KUTS project was aimed at easing traffic congestion in Greater Kuching, Lee said the development was also in response to the Sarawak government’s intention to decarbonise public transportation by utilising zero-emission vehicles.
“I am happy to say that Sarawak is already embarking on the utilisation of zero-emission vehicles with the introduction of hydrogen-powered buses which are currently on trial operations,” he said, adding the KUTS project would also utilise hydrogen-powered Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) vehicles to provide reliable and sustainable transportation.
He also commended IRSE and Sarawak Metro for including a topic on achieving net-zero emissions for the railway industry in the conference.
Meanwhile, conference organising chairman Shahrizaman Zamhury called on IRSE members to work together to mitigate the effects of climate change.
“The transportation industry is one of major contributors of greenhouse emissions and we cannot ignore the impact this sector has on the environment,” he said.
Shahrizaman, who is outgoing chairman of IRSE Malaysia Section, said he was happy to see significant changes made in the transportation industry with some already adopting more sustainable practices and gradually transitioning to utilising green technology.
“At IRSE, we have a vital role to support this transition besides adopting safety standard practices in railway,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Transport Sarawak Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, permanent secretary to the Ministry of Transport Sarawak Dato Ir Alice Jawan Empaling, Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain, Sarawak Metro chief executive officer Mazli Mustaffa and IRSE president Andy Knight were among those present at the launching ceremony.
Later, The delegates witnessed the installation of Mazli as the new chairman of IRSE Malaysia Section.
The ceremony was marked by the handing over of the IRSE Chairman’s instrument of office, in the form of a signaling token key, which was used in signaling systems in the past to provide access for trains to go on tracks between two stations.
In his welcoming speech, Mazli hoped to inculcate greater interest among local youths to take up a career in signal and communication engineering.
“Our hope is also to encourage the younger generation to specialise in this field of signalling and communication, as these two components of engineering will be widely applied to our very own Kuching Urban Transportation System project,” he said.
The conference, held at Riverside Majestic Hotel here, registered delegates from all over Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, India, and the United Kingdom.
Ten papers will be presented during the two days.
The Borneo Post