KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has brushed off criticism of his plan to construct the state’s first Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the state capital.
He said with the population growing to nearly one million people in Greater Kuching, leading to congestion problems, an integrated public transport system based on the LRT is one of the ways to ensure smooth commuting over a long distance.
Many critics are convinced that I am wrong in building the LRT for Kuching city. I will show you that I am right because I am thinking of the future of Kuching and they are wrong because they think Kuching has no future, he said when delivering his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak (Idecs) 2018 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.
Since its announcement, the LRT project has been met with criticism particularly from state DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen, who described the project as unrealistic, expensive and might exhaust Sarawak’s RM28 billion reserves.
Abang Johari also noted that construction of the LRT would provide more jobs.
In preparing for the growth of the Kuching population, there must also be a planned expansion of residential and commercial units to be built in Kuching to cater to the development of new businesses.
The LRT will therefore trigger a construction boom in Kuching and Sarawak, he said, adding that other jobs can be created in Kuching by the development of other economic sectors such as e-commerce, tourism, private healthcare and private education.
The LRT, which will cover Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions, is expected to be operational by 2024.
It will consist of three lines the Kota Samarahan-Sungai Batu-Damai line, Serian-Siburan-Senari line, and the City Dispersal line spanning more than 155km in total.
Source: Sarawak Government