THE Sarawak government should not put billions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money into the Sarawak Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) Project until it provides a full and frank disclosure of the project and conduct proper and feasible studies.
Violet Yong Wui Wui (DAP-Pending) stated this during her debate, urging the state government to properly analyse the current transport situation in Sarawak as well as requesting real experts to study and collect data.
“Was there ever a proper analysis conducted by real experts for this ART project? If there is one, please make it public.
“I have not read any information mentioning it and also data collection which covers route maps, vehicle and customer counts, occupancy surveys, boarding and alighting surveys and other information.
“If that is the case, how is the Sarawak government going to know where and when the public require ART transport services?
“It is important to have such data and information so that the decision to opt for ART system is based on the needs of customers and not for political reasons where its benefits would accrue to few politically powerful people,” she said.
Yong questioned whether the ART stations were identified and decided based on public transport demand and what the ridership of each station was.
“How is the state government going to convert overnight the people who drive to work to be ART commuters? Has it ever crossed your mind that families who are so used to getting into their vehicles to send their children to school and then to work would be willing to suddenly get a taxi or a bus, and do more walking under the extreme weather just to take the ART?
“Is it worth the sweat and spend extra money to get on the ART? Since the ART is set to be hydrogen powered, the fares will not be RM1 like what the bus service is offering now.
“Everyone knows including the Premier of Sarawak himself, it is very expensive to produce hydrogen fuel cells.”
She added that the state lacked practitioners in policy making and Sarawak did not need projects which may only sound good to the ear but impractical, unrealistic, unsustainable and full of uncertainties.
“Why not just go back to the basic by improving the bus services and route network? In my view, the bus system is still the backbone of transforming Sarawak’s public transportation.
“Another issue is how much role does the Ministry of Transport involve in this ART project? Why do we need to purposely set up Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd to handle Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) when we have the ministry?”