‘Hydrogen buses best option’

Abang Johari (left) on the hydrogen bus tour with Lee (seated, front centre) around Kuching City area after launching the service yesterday. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is emphasising the use of hydrogen buses over electric ones for the time being.

While both are generally better for the environment, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said that research was in favour of hydrogen over electric in vehicles as the latter used lithium batteries, which are not very environmentally friendly. 

“Unless new technology is introduced for electric buses,” he added.

“Furthermore, the battery is very heavy and only lasts three to five years,” he said during a press conference after officiating at the Sarawak hydrogen bus operation at Riverside Majestic Hotel here yesterday.

He said that even though hydrogen buses used a bit of electricity to start up, the motor itself was run with hydrogen — making it more environmentally friendly.

Abang Johari said the launch of hydrogen buses was the first step and part of the road map to improve public transportation in the state.

He said the state government had studied a variety of options and believed that this was the best option. “With this, there is no pollution.”

He said the state government would start with three hydrogen buses in operation starting today.

“We are going to increase the number of buses,” he added.

Abang Johari (left) on the hydrogen bus tour with Lee (seated, front centre) around Kuching City area after launching the service yesterday. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

He said that the next step would be to further improve the public transportation system with the usage of hydrogen vehicles.

“After this, we will move to Sibu, Miri, and Bintulu,” said Abang Johari.

He said that the Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) system would be ready by 2025 as well, further improving the state’s public transportation system.

“Then, more tourists will come here,” he said, adding that another area to focus on next was air connectivity.

Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah; Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom; Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip;  Assistant Transport Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil; and Sarawak Economic Development Corporation chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Abdul Aziz Husain.