Politics is not in driver’s seat of Kuching Autonomous Rapid Transit, says Sarawak Transport Minister

Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin (pictured) said a feasibility study on the Kuching Urban Transport System (KUTS) was carried out in 2017 by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and completed in 2018. – Bernama file pic

By Sulok Tawie

Wednesday May 25, 2022 07:49 GMT

KUCHING, May 24 – Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin today dismissed an opposition claim that Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) in the city of Kuching was a political move by Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg when he became Chief Minister of State (now Prime Minister) in 2017.

He said Abang Johari came up with the idea in 2009 when he was Minister of Housing and Urban Development, when he was considering improving and modernizing Sarawak’s transport system, especially the city of Kuching.

“Therefore, the allegation of the state DAP legislator for Pending, Violet Yong, was unfounded and baseless,” Lee said in her closing address to the state assembly.

He said a feasibility study on the Kuching Urban Transport System (KUTS) was conducted in 2017 by the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and completed in 2018.

“The study was carried out by competent consultants who concluded that an urban public transport system was needed to accommodate the growing population of Kuching and the corresponding increase in the number of motor vehicle trips on the road. .

“The demand for a reliable and efficient transportation system was derived from the same feasibility study,” Lee said.

He said the feasibility study also recommended that ART stations be based on public transportation demand and ridership was modeled when designing the proposed KUTS scheme.

He said the executing agency Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd had engaged with stakeholders, especially the public, adding that the findings and other important elements of the impact assessment study (EIA) had been made public during the public posting of the EIA from August to September 2021.

He said the results can also be found on the websites of Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd, Department of Environment, Malaysia and linked by national and local newspapers.

Lee said KUTS is envisioned as the backbone of a modern, green public transportation system for Greater Kuching, with the main component being ART, which will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells and run on virtual tracks.

He said that the ART project consists of two lines, namely the Samarahan line from Rembus to Hikmah Exchange extending 28 km and passing through 14 stations, and the Serian line from Mile 12 to Isthmus with a length of 24 km passing by 13 stations.

“At this time, three locations for the Transit Oriented Development or TOD project have been identified and are expected to increase in the future, particularly after the completion and operation of the ART,” he said. -he declares.

Lee said the state government would not abandon the ART project but would only focus on stage bus services as suggested by Yong.

He said the suggestion shows Yong’s lack of knowledge and understanding in developing a good and advanced transportation system.

“Don’t you want to have a multi-modal and modern transport system for Kuching city where you can travel easily either by ART, modern stage bus powered by hydrogen fuel cell or electric and even vehicles non-motorized? Lee asked him.

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