Sarawak PH chairman says hydrogen fuel cell bus project not practical

Chong said the state government should improve the public transport system by acquiring more and cheaper conventional buses. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Chong said the state government should improve the public transport system by acquiring more and cheaper conventional buses. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUCHING, Sept 11 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen today cautioned the state government against the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell buses for Kuching city.

He said there will be a lot of innovations and adjustments to be made on hydrogen bus technology later since it is new.

“If we buy these buses now and the technology changes, then we are going to waste a lot of money,” he told reporters after inspecting the prices of goods at a supermarket in Taman BDC here.

Chong, who is also the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, was responding to an announcement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg that the state government, through the Sarawak Economic Development (SEDC), would acquire three units of hydrogen buses from China for use in Kuching by March next year.

Abang Johari said that three buses would be used in a pilot project for the state.

Contrary to claims by the chief minister, Chong said a hydrogen fuel cell bus is not cheap when compared to a conventional bus.

“The price of a hydrogen bus is about RM1 million compared to about RM400,000 for the conventional bus,” he said.

He said the state government also has to spend hundreds of millions to build facilities such as a plant to convert water to hydrogen gas, for these hydrogen fuel cell buses.

“Therefore, I would like to caution the state government not to embark on this flamboyant project as at the end of the day, it may come to nothing,” he said.

He said the state government should improve the public transport system by acquiring more and cheaper conventional buses.

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