Sarawak CM foregoes Mercedes, opts for Korean hydrogen-fuelled car

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg giving a demonstration on the hydrogen-powered sports utility vehicle in Kuching October 23, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg giving a demonstration on the hydrogen-powered sports utility vehicle in Kuching October 23, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Oct 23 — Datuk Abang Johari Openg has chosen to use a Korean-made hydrogen-powered Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) as his official car for the past one month amid growing environmental awareness in the country.

The Sarawak chief minister said he has been using the hydrogen-powered SUV for official functions within Kuching City for over a month now, leaving his more expensive Mercedes Benz at home.

“It is smooth, quiet, easy to handle and does not emit carbon dioxide,” he told reporters after closing the Sarawak Invention, Innovation and Design Expo at the Construction Industry Development Board convention centre in Samariang, near here.

“I have been using the car for the past month and if something is dangerous, then I will be the first to become the victim of a hydrogen-powered vehicle,” he said, referring to some people telling him on the possibility of the hydrogen fuel tank exploding.

He said the vehicle does not have any gear and clutch and a full tank of hydrogen fuel can drive the vehicle for about 400 kilometres.

He said the RM300,000 is imported directed from South Korea.

“When you want to start the car, all you have to do is to press the start button, you want the car to move forward, you press another button and you drive on,” he explained.

He said he is the first among the heads of government in South-east Asia to use hydrogen-powered vehicle for official use.

He said the use of hydrogen fuel is aimed towards the state government’s objective towards making Sarawak a clean environment.

He said Kuching already has two buses which is using hydrogen fuel on its street.

He said the state government plans to build five hydrogen refuelling stations in future.

He said he believes that the public will eventually drive vehicles powered by hydrogen once they have accepted it.

“With the latest technology available, they can also convert their conventional vehicle to hydrogen-powered,” he said.

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