Give us time to resolve traffic congestion in Kuching, says state transport minister

An aerial view of Kuching September 6, 2019. — Bernama pic
An aerial view of Kuching September 6, 2019. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Nov 11 — Sarawak’s Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin today urged residents to be patient with the state government, which he said is making efforts to resolve the daily traffic congestion.

He said they should give the state transport ministry time since it was only formed two months ago following the Sarawak Cabinet reshuffle.

“We are doing our best to resolve the congestion, especially along Simpang Tiga road and Pending road during peak hours,” he told reporters after delivering his winding up speech in the Sarawak State Assembly here.

Lee said based on a study on urban traffic in Kuching, the number of vehicles in Kuching City is estimated to be 449,200 by 2030 from 317,400 in 2015.  

“With better income, more people especially in Kuching city can afford to own private vehicles,” he said.

He added Kuching’s population and the number of vehicle registrations have been growing at 3 per cent and 8 per cent respectively per annum, resulting in the increase of traffic congestion in the city, with some junctions experiencing longer waiting time.

“All these factors have been taken into consideration in the setting up of state Ministry of Transport, Sarawak to focus on urban transportation and urban traffic management.

“Surely, we will engage with all stakeholders including members of this August House in executing our duties and responsibilities,” he said.

She said for a start, the ministry is working closely with relevant agencies to execute and complete existing programmes and projects related to the improvement of public transportation system in the state.

Lee said the ministry, together with state Public Works Department and Sarawak Multimedia Authority are implementing the Integrated Smart Traffic Light System for Kuching City which later on can be replicated for implementation in other major towns.  

He said the ministry will engage with relevant key stakeholders in planning and implementing public transport programmes and projects.

“This is necessary to ensure the support and cooperation from the stakeholders. For this purpose, we will be establishing the Public Transport Committee both at the state and divisional levels,” he said.

He said his ministry is also working closely on the operation of hydrogen fuel cell buses with Sarawak Economic Development Corporation, as well as hydrogen production plants and refueling stations with Sarawak Energy Berhad in collaboration with Linde EOX Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Linde Group, Germany.

“The findings from this pilot project will help the state government to plan and decide on how to move forward on hydrogen gas.

“To date, based on the data generated, the projects are progressing well,” he said.

“As we can see from Reports 2019 of the International Energy Agency, hydrogen economy is what many countries worldwide are now aggressively pursuing due to its compelling great potentials to drive economic growth,” he said.

He said the hydrogen fuel cell bus is just one of the many initiatives under the hydrogen economy to leverage on the state’s comparative advantages, such as an abundant supply of water and renewable energy generated from hydropower for the production of green hydrogen.

He said the introduction of the hydrogen fuel cell bus system is in line with the state government’s objective to have a clean environment and greener planet as hydrogen has zero emission, thus in consonance with eco-friendly Public Transportation System.

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