Will Sarawak’s ART fall apart too?

By Chew Lip Song

SARAWAK’S public transportation policy continue to come under fire, as questions are now raised over the state’s plans to introduce the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART).

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said she was doubtful if the state government had carried out any in-depth feasibility studies on the proposal considering that the operational date for the services, scheduled for 2022, has now been postponed to 2025.

“It is a well known fact that the ART is a system that has never been proven successful in any country apart from being expensive and costly to maintain. So far, there is only one supplier for the ART system which is from China and hence resulting in high maintenance cost,” she said in a statement today.

Yong added that while ART may appear to be a sophisticated system, the state government had not made enough public disclosure about the project.

She added that there had been no details like the locations of the ART stations, the actual route of the lines, the company awarded with the project, the costs involved and the proposed fare structure.

Yong called on the government to make full disclosures over the ART project instead of bulldozing it through.

“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 to become another white elephant project,” Yong added.

Earlier, Yong had also raised questions about the viability of the Sarawak government’s hydrogen bus project. The project was launched early this year but the vehicles have since stopped running due to technical issues.

Like the ART project, the hydrogen buses also use Chinese technology. The hydrogen bus project is expected to be expanded state-wide.

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