KUCHING: A total of 90 ‘myBas’ electric buses will be allocated to the state capital under the Stage Bus Services Transformation (SBST).
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said if the plan goes smoothly, the buses will begin operating in January next year, making Sarawak the first state to fully use myBas electric buses.
However, she informed that before the electric buses can ply the streets of Kuching, SBST’s memorandum of understanding signed last November will need to be amended soon to include bigger funding from the federal government.
Nancy explained the new and bigger government funding is needed in order to build vital support facilities for the electric-powered buses such as charging stations so that these buses can be fully utilised to connect urban areas to rural areas, and vice versa.
In order for the operation of these 90 myBas electric buses to commence, Sarawak needs new allocation for support facilities such as charging stations to be built first.
Based on the original agreement, the federal government had allocated RM50 million a year to provide stage bus services at 27 selected routes which covers 10 million kilometers yearly.
Application for new amount of allocation has to be made. This will involve changes in the size of buses, since the narrow routes will need smaller buses, she said in a statement yesterday.
She was commenting on the pledge made by Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak?at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Convention here on Saturday, on the federal government’s commitment to fulfil Sarawak’s request to build more infrastructure in the state.
Nancy, who is also PBB Women vice chief, said the plan to bring electric buses to Kuching was recently announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
She also said she received a courtesy call on Saturday from Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain, Infrastructure Development and Communication Ministry permanent secretary Datu Safri Zainuddin, Dr Abdullah Zaidel from the Chief Minister’s Office and Henry Lau representing Konsortium BBK Sdn Bhd, to discuss this matter.
She added she has asked the Sarawak government to submit an official letter for her to submit the application for a new amount to the federal government.
Based on recent news reports, Abang Johari on Feb 3 said the state cabinet had approved that all buses to be given to the public transport consortium here would be powered by electricity.
He also revealed that the Public Transport Commission (SPAD) had wanted to help improve the public transport system in the state, and one of their recommendations was new buses that still use diesel.
The state government has deliberated on this matter and it has decided that all buses to be used by the consortium in Kuching must be electric-powered buses, he was quoted as saying.
Source: The Borneo Post