ART project of Sarawak should not be stopped

By Yusuf Mustanir

ART (Autonomous Rapid Transit) project is one of the many initiatives undertaken by the GPS government under the proactive and innovative leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg,

Unfortunately, there are some politicians who seem to turn the project into a political issue as the state election nears.

I believe the planning and the implementation of this initiative is for the future of Sarawak. What is wrong with our plan for an Autonomous Rapid Transit? What is wrong with Sarawak moving forward, especially the city of Kuching and its outskirts having ART service to best serve the people and the tourism industry in terms of connectivity.

It is understandable that the people, especially in the rural areas, need clean water supply and electricity, besides having other basic needs, including a good road system. The government is taking note of our needs and doing its very best to make sure those in the rural areas are not left behind.

I believe the government is vigorously pursuing only the best for the people despite facing various challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic. As of now, the pandemic is indirectly obstructing the tempo of infrastructure development, and trade and commerce.

MPs and assemblymen should play their role as monitors in their constituencies to make sure that projects are implemented accordingly.

The needs of every constituency for sure are different based on the locality and economic status of the people. Hence, as I have mentioned, all representatives should act based on the needs of the people they represent.

As for Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, it should be forward looking, dynamic and competitive. It needs to stand sophisticated. Hence, it should not be conservative in all aspect of progress, including its transportation system.

The city of Kuching, including its outskirts and nearby Samarahan and Serian, should not be deprived of the service of ART. It was mentioned that the population of Kuching is around 711,500 and Samarahan, 102,700.

Will these figures stay static in years to come? I am confident that the population of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian will increase.

As of now, together we observe and experience the traffic jam on the Kuching-Samarahan expressway. I believe opposition members too have a hard time on that expressway.

How should we solve the congested expressway and the congested roads within the city of Kuching? Do we plan to stay conservative by widening and building more roads?

One of the best solutions is the ART project. Therefore, it should not be stopped as suggested by some of our politicians.

The project should not be a matter disturbing the minds of some of our politicians. Instead, they should be focusing more on their own constituencies. Elected politicians should be proactive while managing the needs of their constituents.

To me, now is the best time to implement the ART project. Sarawak must not miss this golden opportunity. Why should we try to stop it based on views that it is a mega project?

I do not subscribe to that conservative perception and reason of low volume of passengers to discontinue the project. Honestly, while in Kuala Lumpur, I prefer to take LRT or monorail rather than taxi or bus. It is more convenient and faster. Indirectly avoiding traffic jam.

As I drive along the Kuching-Samarahan expressway, I do wish to travel in LRT or monorail whenever I am trapped in the jam.

As the chief minister rightly pointed out in of his DUN winding-up speeches, “Based on studies, we have conducted, no country in this world can solve traffic congestion problems just by building more road. More roads mean more vehicles on the roads and more traffic congestion. Even using the bus, you will be caught on the road with traffic jam.”

So, let us move forward if we wish to be a world class nation. Proceed with ART!