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Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sarawak. Foto Faitullah Morni (TVS)

DUN Sarawak: Ucapan penggulungan Menteri Pengangkutan Sarawak Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin

Ucapan penggulungan Menteri Pengangkutan Sarawak

Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin

Persidangan Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak (6 Mei-15 Mei 2024)

 

Selamat Petang, Salam Sejahtera, Salam Segulai Sejalai dan Salam Sarawak Maju Makmur

Tuan Speaker,

1. First and foremost, I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to our new and the 8th Governor of Sarawak, Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak, Tun Pehin Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar, who commenced his duties effective from 26th January 2024. I would also like to congratulate him for the award of the Darjah Kebesaran Seri Maharaja Mangku Negara that carries the title of “Tun” on 26th January 2024 and Darjah Satria Bintang Sarawak which carries the title “Pehin Sri” on 28th February 2024. We believe Sarawak will continue to progress and prosper under His Excellency’s experienced leadership in public service as an elected member of Parliament and Minister in the Federal Government.

2. At this juncture, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our late former Governor, Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, for his excellent leadership during his tenure, not only as Sarawak’s Governor but also as Chief Minister of Sarawak previously. His visionary leadership has not only shaped and modernised Sarawak but fostered an environment for the multi- racial rakyat of Sarawak to continue to live in peace and harmony.

3. Our YAB Premier has also tabled a motion to record this august House’s gratitude and appreciation for the late Tun Pehin Sri’s tremendous contributions to Sarawak. The motion was strongly supported and acknowledged by members of the august House.

 

Condolences on the Passing of Senator Datuk Mutang Tagal

4. Last Friday, on the 10th May 2024, we received news on the passing of the Yang di-Pertua Dewan Negara, Senator Datuk Mutang Tagal. It is noteworthy that he was the first Dayak of Lun Bawang ethnicity to be appointed to this esteemed position. His extensive experience and wisdom led to his appointment as the 20th Yang di-Pertua Dewan Negara on 19th February 2024 replacing Tun Pehin Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar. My deepest condolences to his family and may his soul rest in eternal peace.

 

Congratulations to Former Secretary of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly

Tuan Speaker,

5. I wish to congratulate our former Secretary of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly, who is now a Member of Dewan Negara effective from 5th march 2024, the Honourable Senator Tuan Pele Peter Tinggom. We appreciate all his contributions while serving as the Secretary of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

 

Congratulations to Newly Appointed Secretary of Sarawak Legislative Assembly

6. And congratulations to our newly appointed Secretary of Sarawak Legislative Assembly, Tuan Nur Azhar bin Bujang who commenced duty effective from 28th March 2024. I wish you all the best in carrying out the duties entrusted to you with dedication and enthusiasm.

 

Commendation on TYT’s Speech

Tuan Speaker,

7. I commend and resonate with Tun Pehin Sri’s speech on the first day of the legislative assembly that the remarkable achievements of Sarawak stands as a testament to the successful implementation of various impactful initiatives, programmes and high-impact projects across diverse economic sectors. With a clear and inclusive strategic development plan in place under the leadership of our YAB Premier, I am confident that Sarawak’s economy will not only continue to thrive but also emerge as a significant contributor to Malaysia’s economic landscape.

8. Sarawak’s recognition as a high-income region by the World Bank highlights the economic success resulting from Sarawak Government’s robust development strategies. I believe that this prosperity will benefit all segments of society, aligning with our commitment to social inclusion through efforts to enhance household income. As we move forward, the focus on economic growth, social harmony and environmental sustainability will be vital in securing a progressive, prosperous and a better future for all Sarawakians.

 

Passing of Bills 2024

Tuan Speaker,

9. This august House has also witnessed the successful passing of three Bills, namely the Sarawak Ports Authority Bill, 2024, Protection of Public Health (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2024. I would like to congratulate the respective Ministers for tabling the Bills and received overwhelming support and approval.

 

GLOBAL DIRECTION FOR TRANSPORT SECTOR

Tuan Speaker,

10. In today’s rapidly evolving global landscape, there is a noticeable shift towards sustainability with a growing urgency towards sustainable energy adoption. This urgency is amplified by international commitments such as the Paris Agreement and Net Zero Carbon Emissions 2050 scenario, which sets ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change.

11. On a national level, Sarawak has contributed to Malaysia’s recognition for its strides in energy transition, ranking as the leading country in Southeast Asia according to the Energy Transition Index 2023 by the World Economic Forum. Our National Energy Transition Roadmap outlines our target to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 10,000 Gg CO2eq (gigagrams carbon dioxide equivalent) per year and cut carbon intensity against GDP by 45% by 2030 compared to the 2005 baseline. These targets are not merely aspirations but concrete actions that demonstrate our country’s dedication to combating climate change.

12. Under the visionary leadership of our YAB Premier, Sarawak is firmly aligned with this global movement towards sustainability. Sarawak is playing a significant role in contributing to this initiative and leading in harnessing the potential of hydrogen as a clean and renewable energy source.

13. It is important to highlight the crucial role of transport in this endeavour. Transport, being a significant contributor to carbon emissions, is a focal point for transformation towards cleaner and greener alternatives and one of our key initiatives in contributing to this overarching goal is the integration of hydrogen as a clean and renewable energy source in powering our Kuching Urban Transportation System project.

14. The integration of hydrogen-powered vehicles in KUTS is a tangible step towards promoting sustainable mobility within our urban centres. In addition to hydrogen, we are also exploring other innovative solutions to make our transport sector more sustainable. Initiatives such as promoting electric vehicles, enhancing public transport infrastructure and implementing smart mobility solutions are all part of our comprehensive strategy.

 

Tuan Speaker,

15. My Ministry recently participated in the Singapore Maritime Week in April 2024 which brought together maritime and port representatives from over 40 countries. The discussions emphasised the urgent need to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, focusing on digitalisation and decarbonisation as key pillars for innovative ideas and collaboration.

16. It was acknowledged that transitioning to green energy presents a great challenge for the maritime industry due to a lack of specific fuel replacement for fossil fuels. Among the fuel options, hydrogen-based fuels have emerged as a promising solution due to their potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions.

17. This was further reinforced by insights from the International Energy Agency (IEA) report 2023 which was also highlighted during the event. The report projects ammonia as the leading propulsion fuel by the year 2050, followed by biofuels, hydrogen, electricity and methanol, as shown on the graph displayed on the screen.

18. I would like to highlight several issues and challenges presented during the Singapore Maritime Week 2024:

i) Maritime industries contribute 2% of global carbon emissions;

ii) Industry players must play their part to achieve 80% reduction by 2040 and zero emissions by 2050;

iii) Green energy for marine propulsions is emphasised with consideration of global availability, bunkering facilities, storage and safety measures; and

iv) Collaboration between the government and private sectors is essential to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 through industry-wide cooperation and innovation.

 

19. In alignment with the International Maritime Organisation (ISO) Convention’s objectives and commitments, my Ministry is exploring initiatives for the riverine sector to transition to green energy vessels with consideration of hydrogen or electric- powered propulsion systems. My ministry is also committed to enhance our river network through sustainable practices and digitalisation efforts.

 

Tuan Speaker,

20. For the aviation industry, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has addressed 5 challenges and opportunities facing the global aviation industry, these include Safety, Air Navigation Capacity and Efficiency, Security and Facilitation, Economic Development of Air Transport and Environmental Protection.

21. Enhancing safety standards through regulatory oversight and international cooperation is crucial for maintaining trust in air travel. The industry aims to achieve zero fatalities by 2030 by adapting to innovative technologies while improving overall network performance.

22. Given the projected doubling of global air transport capacity by 2030, there’s a critical need to increase Air Navigation Capacity and improve efficiency in air traffic management. This involves harmonising activities, maximising existing technologies and integrating next-generation innovations.

23. Addressing the environmental impact of aviation activities is a pressing concern, as it involves promoting sustainable practices, technological innovations, and initiatives like CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation) to mitigate emissions and noise pollution.

24. As Sarawak, alongside the Federal Government, strides forward in modernising its aviation infrastructure, aligning these endeavours with global benchmarks becomes imperative. This alignment not only boosts operational efficacy but also fosters seamless connectivity, propelling Sarawak into a new era of air travel excellence, both domestic and internationally.

25. The global energy transition towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 requires collective action and unwavering commitment among all parties. Sarawak’s proactive approach towards sustainability and environmental stewardship underlines our commitment to drive sustainable growth and ensure a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future for all.

 

SARAWAK’S TRANSPORT SECTOR

Tuan Speaker,

26. Sarawak’s transport sector is in the midst of undergoing transformation and development, guided by a vision of enhanced connectivity, sustainability and increase in travel choices to foster economic growth and social inclusivity.

 

LAND TRANSPORT AND LOGISTIC SECTOR

Progress of Kuching Urban Transportation System

Tuan Speaker,

27. I would like to provide this august House with an update on the developments of the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS), with a particular emphasis on the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) project.

28. As of April 2024, the overall actual progress of KUTS Phase 1 stands at 20.65% inclusive of consultancy works, studies and physical works. The capital expenditure has reached RM623.0 million, reflecting the financial commitment to advancing this transformative project.

 

Tuan Speaker,

29. The ground foundation work for Rembus Depot as the central hub for the ART system’s operations and administration is currently ongoing and it is anticipated to be completed by Quarter 3, 2024.

30. The other infrastructure works tender under phase 1 of the KUTS project is for the construction of Rembus Depot and Associated Works, which encompasses mechanical and infrastructure workshops, hydrogen refuelling facilities, a test track, an administration building, an operations control centre as well as a stabling yard. The contract for this works package was awarded on 8th December 2023 with a contract sum amounting to RM 260.0 million.

31. In addition, the infrastructure works package tender for Blue Line Package 1 from Rembus to Stutong was awarded on 10th November 2023 with a contract sum of RM 568.61 million. Subsequently, the Red Line Package from Kuching Sentral to Pending was awarded on 8th December 2023 with a contract sum of RM 943.0 million.

32. To recap, the timeline for the KUTS Phase I project will be implemented in stages:

i) The Blue Line Package 1: Rembus – Riveria is targeted to be completed by the end of Quarter 4, 2025;

ii) The entire Blue Line and Red Line is scheduled to be completed by the end of Quarter 4, 2026; and

iii) The green line is scheduled to be completed by the end of Quarter 4, 2027.

 

Outcome of Autonomous Rapid Transit Engineering Run & Proof-of-Concept

Tuan Speaker,

33. In August 2023, a significant milestone was achieved with the arrival of the Prototype Hydrogen ART vehicle in Sarawak, marking a pivotal moment in the KUTS project’s timeline. Following this, in early November 2023, the Prototype ART underwent a Proof-of-Concept (POC) exercise on the Samarahan-Kuching Expressway, offering stakeholders a firsthand experience of the ART ride and a glimpse into the future of public transport in Sarawak. The POC exercise officially ended on 20th December 2023, marking a significant step forward in the advancement of an innovative transport solution in the region.

34. During the POC exercise, we have hosted Ministers and senior officers from both the Federal and Sarawak governments, including the Deputy Finance Minister II, MITI Deputy Minister, EU ambassador, Penang’s Chief Minister and delegation as well as Selangor’s Executive Councillor and delegation. Earlier this year, we also hosted several members of the Johor State Legislative Assembly, the Johor State Government and related Federal Government agencies. After the visit, the Johor Menteri Besar announced in April 2024 that the state government has proposed to implement an ART system in southern Johor to improve the transport network.

35. On 19th February 2024, the final design of the Hydrogen ART vehicle was presented and endorsed by YAB Premier of Sarawak and the production (manufacturing) has commenced on the first batch of the ART Vehicle with an expected delivery by end of Quarter 3, 2024. Subsequently, the remaining 37 sets of ART H2 Vehicles will be delivered progressively towards the completion of the KUTS Phase 1 project.

 

Performance of Hydrogen Bus Trial Operation

Tuan Speaker,

36. For the information of this august House, between September 2020 and March 2024, the Hydrogen buses have demonstrated steady increase in ridership, carrying a total of 57,764 passengers to date.

37. The average monthly ridership from Jan 2024 to April 2024 has reached 1,869 passengers, marking a 27.14% increase from the previous year’s Jan 2023 to April 2023 average of 1,470 passengers per month. The increase is attributed to rising public awareness of the Hydrogen bus service and active requests to charter for special events, signifying the positive impact of these buses on local transport.

38. For the information of this august House, upon the operations of the KUTS Project, the Hydrogen feeder buses will be integrated with the Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system to provide last-mile connectivity, improving the accessibility for passengers within urban areas. It plays a crucial role in improving the overall KUTS interconnectivity as well as promoting sustainable urban mobility.

39. With Sarawak’s journey into hydrogen as a renewable energy and the commitment of Sarawak Government towards green mobility, Hydrogen feeder buses will be procured in the coming years in stages. These hydrogen feeder buses represent a leap towards sustainable urban transportation.

 

Public Transport and Urban Traffic Management

Tuan Speaker,

40. My Ministry through the Sarawak Urban Traffic Management Committee (SUTMaC) and Sarawak Public Transport Committee (SPTC) will continue to carry out its role in managing public transport and urban traffic. These committees will discuss appropriate solutions to address identified issues in the different divisions such as traffic congestion, movement of goods and people, quality of transport services provided and demands in different modes of transport.

 

Performance of RM1.00 Flat Rate Bus Fare Subsidy Programme

Tuan Speaker,

41. Since May 2020, the Sarawak Government has implemented the RM1.00 Flat Rate Bus Fare Subsidy programme with the objective to reduce financial burden of B40 group in terms of their transport cost, reduce traffic congestion and to promote the usage of urban public transport.

42. I am pleased to report to this august House that the success of the RM1.00 Flat Rate Bus Fare Subsidy Programme can be observed through the substantial increase in ridership and increase in the number of public bus routes. Our analysis shows that the ridership has increased up to 57% since its implementation. From approximately 200,000 ridership per month in 2020, the ridership has risen to almost 360,000 ridership per month in 2023. This shows that the programme has received overwhelming response from our rakyat the use of buses for daily commute.

43. The positive impacts of the programme includes an increase in the number of stage buses operating in Sarawak from 115 buses in 2021 to 131 buses in 2023. With more buses on the road, commuters can expect shorter waiting times and more frequencies, making public transport a more reliable, convenient and attractive option.

44. It is crucial for my Ministry to constantly review the implementation of the subsidy programme and its performance. In this regard, upon reviewing the objectives, it was decided that the revised programme will continue to address its goals by including only routes within 40 km of urban areas.

45. This strategic adjustment serves as a crucial step towards optimising the programme’s impact and ensuring that it remains aligned with its goals. By focusing on routes closer to urban centres, we aim to enhance accessibility and maximise the programme’s benefits for our rakyat while streamlining its operational efficiency.

46. Currently, the programme involves 11 bus companies operating on 47 routes in the urban areas of Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sarikei, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.

 

Stage Bus Service Transformation Tuan Speaker,

47. Apart from the RMI.00 Flat Rate Bus Fare Subsidy programme, my Ministry is constantly working closely with the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) Sarawak under the Federal Government to implement the Stage Bus Services Transformation (SBST) programme in Kuching Division. The Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOTM) has allocated a sum of RM17.6 million for the implementation of the programme for the year 2023 to 2028.

48. SBST was established by the Federal Government in 2015 to provide a simple, stable and interconnected public transport service network. This initiative aims to increase the use of public transport and further foster people’s interest in using public transport instead of their personal vehicles.

49. My Ministry together with the Federal Government will look into the expansion of the programme to other major divisions to provide reliable and convenient public bus transportation.

 

Free School Bus Programme

Tuan Speaker,

50. Following the success of the Yayasan Sarawak Free School Bus programme in Kuching, Miri and Sibu, my Ministry and Yayasan Sarawak plans to expand the programme to other divisions.

51. The Sarawak Government and Yayasan Sarawak through the implementation of this programme aims to ease the burden of school students from B40 families by providing free bus transport service. Additionally, it also targets to overcome the problem of dropouts amongst students due to transportation constraints.

52. As of April 2024, it has benefited a total of 9,095 students in Kuching, Sibu and Miri Division. The programme currently involves a coverage of 61 schools and 116 operators throughout the 3 divisions.

53. As a continued effort on digitisation, the programme’s “My Yayasan System” electronic card has been implemented recently in Sibu division starting 1st April 2024. Both the Kuching and Miri division have started utilising the electronic card since 2023.

54. My Ministry will expand the free school bus programme to Limbang division by Quarter 3 2024 and to other divisions in stages.

Implementation of Smart Traffic Lights

Tuan Speaker,

55. One of the key initiatives in transforming our urban traffic management involves the integration of smart traffic lights through the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS), aimed at markedly improving transport efficiency and safety across the city.

56. These intelligent traffic signals, driven by real-time data and AI capabilities, enable adaptive signal timing to ease traffic congestion, shorten travel durations and bolster overall safety. The success of this plan relies on strong teamwork with city councils, transport agencies and law enforcement.

57. In addition, the intelligent traffic signals will integrate with the ART Transit Signal Priority (TSP) to enhance and coordinate the safety for the ART vehicles with all other road users, where signal priority (Right-of-Way) will be given to ART Vehicles.

58. As of April 2024, there are a total of 325 traffic light junctions in Sarawak with varying numbers managed by the Public Works Department (JKR) and the city councils such as Kuching North (DBKU) and Kuching South (MBKS) City Councils, with 122 junctions linked up to the Sarawak SCATS server managed by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA).

59. We are presently engaged in the phased integration of an additional 203 junctions into the Sarawak SCATS server. This progressive effort aims to establish an integrated coordination among junctions governed by different authorities, facilitating unified traffic management planning across Sarawak.

60. Moreover, consolidating the system enables seamless access to system data, traffic volume information and fault detection records from a singular server source, streamlining operational oversight and analysis.

 

MARITIME AND RIVERINE TRANSPORT SECTOR

Performance of Maritime and Riverine Transport Sector

Tuan Speaker,

61. The Maritime and Riverine Transport division of my Ministry is continuously keeping up with new regulations and conventions set forth by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as those imposed by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authority (IALA).

62. Maritime Transport serves as a crucial and efficient method for global goods movement as underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 80% of the goods around the world are transported via maritime and riverine routes, as reiterated by the Secretary-General of the IMO in the recently held Singapore Maritime Week.

63. Despite challenges such as port blockages and delivery slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, essential products such as food items, agricultural and industrial requirements as well as medical supplies continued to be transported promptly as required. However, it is unfortunate that the significant role played by maritime transport during the pandemic is overlooked as the crisis subsides.

64. The two agencies under the purview of my Ministry, Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) and Sarawak Buoys and Lights Board (SBLB) are working diligently to upgrade various riverine infrastructure and to enhance Aids to Navigation from the sea into the rivers.

65. In addition, in order to improve the river system, my Ministry is conducting a study on the water hyacinth growth in Sarawak, with the contract agreement signed with Curtin Biovalley Sdn. Bhd. on 26th April 2024. The objective of the study is to develop an Action Plan comprising strategies, programmes and projects to address the water hyacinth issue affecting the livelihoods of the communities along the rivers in Sarawak. The outcome of the study will be used to formulate actions to address water hyacinth issues and explore ways to enhance its usage to promote cottage industry along the river.

 

Sarawak Rivers Board

Tuan Speaker,

66. Allow me to provide an update on the activities undertaken by the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB), the rivers authority under the purview of my Ministry.

67. As of the 31st March 2024, SRB has officially registered a total of 5,812 vessels with River Transport Permits in Sarawak.

68. For the information of this august House, SRB regularly organises the River Safety and Cleanliness Programme. This is part of our commitment to sustainable practices to foster ecosystem health and biodiversity conservation with the local communities.

69. For this year as of 31 t March 2024, SRB has organised three (3) River Safety and Cleanliness Programmes. Among these initiatives were two “Program Komuniti Gotong-Royong Membersih Alur Navigasi Sungai” which aimed to clear navigational channels for safe navigation. A programme was carried out along Batang Katibas from 13th – 19th March 2024 involving nine (9) longhouses affected by the Floating Wood Debris Tragedy on the 3rd March 2024.

70. Additionally, SRB has also successfully carried out works to clear floating wood debris blocking the navigational channel at Sungai Delok, Batang Ai Dam in the Lubok Antu District, involving communities from five (5) longhouses along Sungai Delok on the 23rd March 2024.

71. Floating wood debris has become one of the major safety concern for riverine transport in Sarawak. To address this, the Floating Debris Mitigation Project at Batang Baleh, which is funded through Sarawak Forest Department (FD) has awarded the contract to the successful contractor on the 14th December 2023 and the project site handover was held on the 20th January 2024. To date, the contractor is in the process of importing the materials for the installation of the Log and Debris Boom.

 

Sarawak Buoys and Lights Board

Tuan Speaker,

72. The performance levels of the certified navigational aids installed in Sarawak are exemplary, consistently meeting and surpassing the international standards set by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA).

73. Lighthouses under the Sarawak Buoys and Lights Board’s (SBLB) jurisdiction maintain an impressive operational performance level of 99%, providing crucial guidance to maritime vessels. The beacons maintenance is also at an excellent performance level of 98%, while navigational buoys operate at 97% level.

74. To support the growth of the maritime industry in Sarawak, the Buoys and Lights Board is committed to upgrading its navigation aids in line with the latest technological advancements. This includes the implementation of an online management system to facilitate effective revenue collection and asset management.

75. For the year of 2023, SBLB has collected a sum of RM13.0 million from the payment of the light dues and riverine traffic fees.

 

Visit to Sarawak Petchem methanol Plant Loading Betty and Proposed Tanjung Likau Lighthouse Site

Tuan Speaker,

76. Allow me to share insights from a recent working visit to Sarawak Petchem in Bintulu and the proposed Tanjung Likau Lighthouse site.

77. At Sarawak Petchem, my officers and I received updates on the near-completion of the Methanol Plant and its loading jetty. Discussions focused on maritime safety, efficiency and compliance with international standards, which are imperative to the success of the project as a significant contributor to our region’s economic growth.

78. In addition, the proposed Tanjung Likau Lighthouse which is planned to replace the existing lighthouse at Tanjung Kidurong, signifies our commitment to modernising maritime safety. This strategically located lighthouse will serve multiple ports, namely Bintulu Port, Samalaju Port and Sarawak Petchem Methanol Plant Loading Jetty. This effort, facilitated by the close collaboration with relevant agencies, is crucial to strengthen our economic growth.

 

Visit to the Tianjin Research Institute for Water Transport Engineering

Tuan Speaker,

79. From 25th to 31st March 2024, I led a delegation comprising officers from my Ministry, and the Sarawak Rivers Board to the Research Institute for Water Transport Engineering, Haihe River Barrage, Tianjin Port and CCCC Tianjian Dredging Company.

80. During the visit, our delegation was briefed on advanced facilities for physical modelling and advanced simulation systems for water engineering projects. The delegation also witnessed the progress of the physical modelling construction which will study the riverbank erosion at the Sungai Sarawak Barrage to provide valuable insights, including the long-term effects on the surrounding areas for informed decision making.

81. From the results of the physical modelling, there will be installation of concrete bank protection and riverbed flow protection areas along the Sungai Sarawak barrage.

82. This visit also led to an initiative by the Research Institute to offer sponsorship for two officers from my Ministry and two officers from the Sarawak Rivers Board to attend an international technical workshop and training. As of now, these officers are already in the institute in Tianjin.

83. In addition, the delegation also made a visit to the shiplocks operating at the Three Gorges Dam at the Yangtze River. The newly upgraded shiplocks were also physically modelled in the same research institute to achieve the highest level of efficiency and with minimal negative effects.

84. Learning from this visit, my Ministry will be developing plans for projects to enhance the safety of the river as well as infrastructure for various economic activities as catalysts for local enterprises.

 

AIR CONNECTIVITY AND AVIATION INDUSTRY

Tuan Speaker,

85. I would like to inform this august House on the development of the aviation industry in Sarawak.

 

Performance of Sarawak Aviation Industry

86. For information of this august House, the total number of aircraft and passengers’ movement to all airports and STOLPorts in Sarawak for the first quarter of 2024, were 31,010 aircraft movements carrying 2.38 million passengers.

87. For the same period, a total of 14,504 tonnes of air cargo was transported to all the various destinations in Sarawak. This cargo includes electrical and electronic goods, oil and gas equipment, e-commerce goods, which include flammable materials, perishable goods such as fruits and fresh flowers, and general cargo such as fabrics and clothing.

 

Malaysia Domestic Flights

88. Under Malaysia domestic flights or flights coming from other states of Malaysia to Sarawak including federal territories, Sarawak receives an average of 445 flights weekly. The existing routes are served by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Batik Air, Firefly and MASwings.

89. Kuching International Airport received the most flight frequency which is 235 flights weekly, followed by Miri Airport with 98 flights, Sibu Airport – 68 flights, Bintulu Airport – 32 flights, Mutu – 7 flights, Lawas – 2 flights and Limbang with 3 flights weekly.

 

Sarawak Domestic Flights

90. For Sarawak domestic flights or scheduled flights within Sarawak, there was an average of 614 flights weekly in the first quarter of 2024 connecting Sarawak major cities, towns and rural settlements under Rural Air Service (RAS). Miri airport manned the highest number with 173 flights weekly, followed by Kuching – 149 flights, Sibu – 68 flights and Bintulu – 43 flights, while the remainder of the flights were to the smaller airports and STOLports. The flight operations were operated by AirAsia, Firefly and MASwings.

 

Sarawak International Flights

91. As of April 2024, there were only 33 international flights weekly to Sarawak compared to the fourth quarter of 2023, which recorded 40 flights weekly. This is due to AirAsia flights suspension for Singapore — Miri and Singapore – Sibu routes, and Malaysia Airlines flights suspension for the Singapore – Kuching route. The reason for their suspension were mostly due to low load factor and the airlines have been facing losses in servicing the routes.

92. Alternatively, I am pleased to announce to this august House that the routes vacated by AirAsia will be serviced by AirAsia will be serviced by Scoot Airlines which is planning their inaugural flight on 5th June 2024, with Singapore – Sibu route, 3 flights weekly and Singapore – Miri, 4 flights weekly.

93. Additionally, AirAsia X (Indonesia) has also increased their weekly flights for the Jakarta and Kuching route from 3 flights weekly to 7 flights weekly, while Royal Brunei Airlines has also increased their flight from twice weekly to 4 times weekly between Bandar Sri Begawan and Kuching.

 

Public Service Obligation under Rural Air Services

94. It’s commendable that my Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, Malaysia Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) and MASwings, is taking proactive steps to maximise the efficiency of the Rural Air Service (RAS) through the Public Service Obligation (PSO).

95. The introduction of the Hybrid flexi plan to optimise government subsidies while managing capacity and demand during peak and off-peak periods reflects a strategic approach to ensure the sustainability and accessibility of air travel in rural areas.

96. The figures for the first quarter of this year, with MASwings flying a total of 75,933 passengers and 287 tonnes of cargo within RAS routes, demonstrate the importance and demand for air connectivity in these regions. It underscores the significance of the efforts undertaken by my Ministry and the stakeholders to provide essential air services to rural communities.

 

Additional Flights during Festive Seasons

Tuan Speaker,

97. My Ministry is fully aware of the demand for air travel during festive seasons and school holidays. In this regard, my Ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Transport Malaysia, MAVCOM and the airlines to ensure enough flights and seats are available to various Sarawak destinations at an affordable airfare.

98. My Ministry has written and engaged with the relevant airlines to increase flight frequency during festive seasons including for the upcoming Gawai Dayak celebration.

99. During the Chinese New Year in February 2024, the federal government has introduced the midnight flight at RM298 one way.

100. Additionally in the last Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, the federal government through the Ministry of Transport Malaysia has also introduced the RM298 midnight extra flight where the airlines had added 30 extra flights and with more than 15 upgraded aircraft from Boeing 737-800 and Airbus-A320 to Airbus-A350 which can carry up to 300 passengers per flight.

101. For this coming Gawai celebration, we have written to the Ministry of Transport Malaysia to continue to provide the airfare incentives, while the airlines will upgrade or to put-in extra aircraft to support the demand. In this regard, my Ministry would like to encourage returning Sarawakians to plan their journey ahead and book their flight early to get the best airfare and promotional flight.

Flight Disruption Due to Mount Ruang Eruption

102. The eruptions of Mount Ruang on Sulawesi Island on 17th April 2024 have indeed caused significant disruptions to air travel in the region, with flights being cancelled on 18th April 2024.

103. All flights to Sarawak were cancelled on that day, and only resumed at 7.00 pm. The second eruption on 1st May 2024 had the flights cancelled for 6 hours with services gradually resuming around 1.00pm in the afternoon.

104. The estimated affected passengers were around 5,000 in the first eruption while the second had affected around 3,451 passengers. My ministry had written and engaged with the airlines to increase the flight capacity to cater for the cancelled flights.

105. For the information of this august house, it is emphasised that decisions regarding the closure of airspace and airports are within the jurisdiction of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), which must prioritise safety factors. It’s crucial for the Ministry of Transport and CAAM to closely monitor the situation and prioritise passenger safety.

106. This includes considering the risks posed by volcanic ash clouds to aircraft engines, systems and avionics. CAAM’s issuance of Significant Meteorology (SIGMET) advisories and safety notices to airline operators demonstrates their commitment to ensure that aviation stakeholders are informed about potential hazards and can take appropriate measures to mitigate risks.

107. Overall, the collaboration with the relevant authorities, airlines and other stakeholders is crucial in managing the effects of natural disasters like volcanic eruptions on air travel safety and minimise disruptions to passengers.

 

COLLABORATION TO STRENGTHEN SARAWAK’S TRANSPORT SECTOR

Tuan Speaker,

108. My Ministry is actively pursuing collaborative efforts with relevant Sarawak and federal agencies, neighbouring countries and stakeholders to boost Sarawak’s transport sector.

 

BIMP-EAGA Transport Cluster

109. In the recently concluded Brunei Darussalam – Indonesia – Malaysia – Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Strategic Planning Meeting which was hosted by Malaysia in Kuching in March 2024, my Ministry has engaged with member countries to address cross-border challenges and regional connectivity. The discussion has resulted in the decision to initiate a taskforce led by Indonesia to address issues and alignment of regulations relating to border crossing of buses, coaches and the streamlining of processes for goods in transit across borders.

110. During the meeting, Malaysia also presented our digital driving license initiative. It was collectively agreed that further discussions among member countries are necessary to streamline digital permits, in alignment with the ASEAN Framework Agreements on Cross Border to promote cohesiveness and foster greater connectivity.

111. Similarly, enhancing air connectivity was also deliberated with focus on establishing air routes to facilitate regional integration and promote a smoother air travel experience. These concerted efforts are necessary for member countries to harness the potential of BIMP-EAGA and enhance cooperation for shared prosperity and development.

 

Border-Crossing Improvements

Tuan Speaker,

112. My Ministry is committed to devise both immediate and long- term strategies to enhance border crossing experience for travellers. Acknowledging the constant heavy traffic congestion experienced by travellers at border checkpoints especially at the northern region, my Ministry has studied and proposed improvement works to alleviate the congestion and enable smooth traffic flow.

113. On 7th March 2024, the Sarawak Government approved a RM4.0 million allocation to enhance facilities at the Sungai Tujoh Immigration, Customs, Quarantine, and Security (ICQS) Complex. These improvements include the addition of new lanes and counters, as well as upgrading other ancillary facilities, serving as immediate measures to mitigate long outstanding congestion issues.

114. Moreover, I have also visited the Serikin ICQS with my Ministry recently on 30th April 2024 alongside the relevant agencies and we anticipate the new RM50.0 million ICQS complex to commence works this year on a 28 hectare land.

115. I have attended site discussions at two (2) ICQS checkpoints on 2nd of May 2024, namely Mengkalap and Pandaruan to address the traffic congestion. My Ministry will continue to work closely with the relevant agencies to examine and tackle similar congestion challenges at other ICQS checkpoints in Sarawak, which are the Merapok checkpoints from Lawas to Sabah, and Tedungan checkpoints from Limbang to Brunei.

 

Aviation Engagement with Federal Agencies

Tuan Speaker,

116. My Ministry has been actively collaborating with various federal entities such as the Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOTM), the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to enhance aviation standards and operations within the region.

117. Discussions with CAAM have focused on refining drone procedures and increasing awareness of drone regulations, which are crucial steps towards integrating modern technologies safely into existing aviation frameworks.

118. In addition, MOTM is establishing a National Airport Performance (NAP) committee aimed at ensuring the facilities and service performance at airports across Malaysia adheres to international standards. My Ministry will be part of the Committee in ensuring all Sarawak airports are taken into consideration and address airport issues.

119. My Ministry has taken proactive steps by conducting regular visits to all Sarawak airports and STOLports. These inspections serve to provide valuable recommendations for action by the NAP Committee, thereby contributing to the continuous improvement of aviation standards and operations in Sarawak.

120. I have also highlighted the necessity of upgrading facilities in Sarawak airports and reminding Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) of the airport’s role as a gateway into Sarawak. In this regard, MAHB will call a tender in June 2024 to completely renovate all toilets at Kuching International Airport.

121. In parallel to these discussions, there has been a significant push towards improving infrastructure at key airports within Sarawak. Both the Kuching International Airport and Miri Airport have been identified as having exceeded their passenger handling capacities, prompting an urgent call for the implementation of optimisation plans to upgrade their terminals.

122. Based on my last meeting with the Honourable Minister of Transport Malaysia, these optimisation plans will be the priority projects in obtaining allocations from the Federal Government under the Sth Rolling Plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan.

123. Therefore, MOTM and MAHB have been urged to expedite these development plans to accommodate growing travel demands and enhance passenger experience. These upgrades are vital not only for improving operational efficiency but also for supporting Sarawak’s economic growth which is aligned with our development strategy.

 

Collaboration with the Aviation Industry

Tuan Speaker,

124. I would like to take a moment to highlight the significant engagements and developments in the aviation sector.

125. The demonstration flight of the ARJ21-700 aircraft, orchestrated by the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) on 12th March 2024, from Subang to Kuching, exemplifies the foreign aviation industry’s commitment to collaborate with Sarawak. The event also signifies the ongoing collaboration between Sarawak Government and aviation industries in advancing the aviation sector in Sarawak.

126. Furthermore, on 17th April 2024, the engagement with SCOOT Pte. Ltd. (SCOOT) in Singapore signals a promising step forward in enhancing accessibility to Sarawak. The discussions revolving around increased flight frequencies demonstrate a mutual commitment to fostering tourism and facilitating business exchanges. SCOOT flies to Kuching on a daily schedule and to Miri four times weekly.

 

Tuan Speaker,

127. I am pleased to announce that SCOOT has confirmed its inaugural flight to Sibu on 5th June 2024. The flight will depart from Singapore at 12.35pm, with the return flight from Sibu departing at 3.00pm. After the inaugural flight, the regular schedule for this route is departure from Singapore at 5.25am, and the return flight from Sibu at 7.50am, three times a week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. This signifies the close partnership with Singapore, one that holds the potential for significant economic and cultural benefits for Sarawak.

128. Relating on the early morning flights schedule to Sibu, it was due to slot times given and full utilisation of the new aircraft, the Embraer E190-E2s to other destinations. This schedule will be revised once the airline takes delivery of more aircraft. The inaugural flight to Sibu Relating on the early morning flights schedule to Sibu, it was due to slot times given and full utilisation of the new aircraft, the Embraer E190-E2s to other destinations. This schedule will be revised once the airline takes delivery of more aircraft.

129. Aside from all these initiatives, my Ministry will continue to work with the relevant stakeholders towards a more efficient, accessible, interconnected and sustainable transport network for the benefit of our rakyat and contribute to the region’s overall development.

 

RESPONSE TO SPECIFIC ISSUES RAISED BY HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF DUN

Tuan Speaker,

130. I would like to respond to the various issues, requests, comments and suggestions made by the Honourable Members on the subjects relating to my Ministry. I express my appreciation for all your concern and recommendations that you have put forward.

 

The Honourable Member for Ba’kelalan

Tuan Speaker,

131. For the information of the Honourable Member for Ba’kelalan, in response to the question on the plans to clean up rivers and to educate the public, Sarawak Rivers Board conducts regular River Safety and Cleanliness Campaigns which consist of River Cleanliness, Rehabilitation and Conservation Programmes. The programmes include public education and awareness initiatives, river rehabilitation and beautification efforts, river conservation programmes, river cleaning and clearing activities as well as river cleanliness and landscape competitions. These activities are targeted at riverine communities and school children with the objective of raising public awareness about rivers, fostering a sense of community involvement and ownership, improving navigational channels for riverine traffic and strengthening the bond between people and rivers.

132. In the year 2023 alone, the Sarawak Rivers Board has conducted 28 River Safety and Cleanliness Campaigns and 81 related programmes, engaging a total of 3,790 individuals from riverine communities and schools across Sarawak. For the year 2024, SRB targets to implement 28 River Safety and Cleanliness Campaigns.

 

The Honourable Member for Tanjung Batu

133. For the information of the Honourable Member for Tanjung Batu, I extend my Ministry’s gratitude for your suggestions aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in Bintulu. Currently, my Ministry is actively engaged in collaborative efforts with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Port Development (MIPD), the Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government (MPHLG), as well as agencies such as Jabatan Kerja Raya Sarawak (JKRS), Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) and local councils, through the Sarawak Urban Traffic Management Committee (SUTMaC), to address and resolve the traffic congestion issue.

134. Furthermore, my Ministry is in the process of conducting the Sarawak Integrated Transport Master Plan (SITMP) study, which will delineate comprehensive strategies and action plans aimed at revolutionising Sarawak’s public transport system and effectively tackling the challenge of traffic congestion.

 

The Honourable Member for Tamin

135. For the information of the Honourable Member for Tamin regarding air travel accessibility in Sarawak, the collaboration between my Ministry and the Ministry of Transport Malaysia is paramount in ensuring that the needs of the people are effectively met. Our coordinated efforts are directed towards addressing key issues such as pricing, availability and accessibility of flights, with the objective of keeping air travel affordable and accessible to all segments of the rakyat.

136. During peak travel periods like festive seasons, when demand for air travel typically surges, it becomes even more crucial to prioritise the welfare and convenience of our rakyat. In light of this, my Ministry has proactively engaged with the federal government, urging them to continue providing airfare incentives for all festive seasons. These incentives play a vital role in alleviating the financial burden on travellers and contribute significantly to making air travel more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

137. For Sarawak students, the FLYsiswa initiative is now open for applications until 30th November 2024 and must be utilised for a flight booking by 31st December 2024. This initiative is open for students in public universities, polytechnic and community colleges, as well as matriculation colleges and Teacher’s Institutes under the Ministry of Education.

138. Eligible students will be able to redeem RM300 voucher from an airline of their choice which includes Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Batik Air, MASwings and FireFly. If a flight booking is less than RM300, the remaining balance will be kept as a credit shell which can be used for another flight booking. Students can check their eligibility for the programme at the Ministry of Transport Malaysia FLYsiswa portal.

139. Alternatively, Sarawak students are also eligible to apply for a travel subsidy amounting to RM600 per year or RM300 at any one time under the Inisiatif Graduan Pulang Sarawak (I-GPS). The students can apply through Yayasan Sarawak website or through Yayasan Sarawak Student App which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

 

The Honourable Member for Pujut

140. For the information of the Honourable Member for Pujut, regarding the suggestion on free feeder buses, I would like to inform that my Ministry will implement free bus services with 14 units of smart buses as a pilot project for 20 months within Miri City, starting Quarter 3 of 2024.

141. In response to the airport upgrading, I have addressed the issue earlier towards improving infrastructure at both the Kuching International Airport and Miri Airport, which have exceeded their passenger handling capacities. Based on my last meeting with the YB Minister of Transport Malaysia, these optimisation plans will be the priority projects in obtaining allocations from the Federal Government.

142. The proposed optimisation plan for Kuching International Airport amounts to RM65.0 million, and RM60.0 million for Miri Airport, to be implemented under Rolling Plan 5 (2025). For Miri Airport, the proposed upgrade involves an increase in terminal capacity from 2 Million Passengers Per Annum (MPPA) to 3 Million Passengers Per Annum. The proposed scope of works for the expansion comprises:

i) A new building extension and upgrading of the Rural Air Services (RAS) area;

ii) Additional new Check in Counters (CIC);

iii) New offices area, signages and wayfinding;

iv) New baggage handling system (BHS);

v) Improvement and upgrading works at first floor departure hall area;

vi) Pier expansion and additional 2 passenger boarding bridges (PBB); and

vii) Automation towards airport 4.0.

 

143. Considering broader regional development goals alongside airport optimisation, this integrated approach will lead to more sustainable and effective solutions for enhancing the passenger experience and supporting economic growth in the northern region. In this regard, my Ministry will also review various studies for Miri including the ongoing Greater Miri Development Masterplan study which also covers Miri airport infrastructure development plan, in addressing the issue raised.

 

The Honourable Member for Tebedu

144. For the information of the Honourable Member for Tebedu, the RM1.00 Flat Rate Bus Fare Subsidy Programme has been revised for the years 2024 and 2025. Under the revision, the subsidy is only applicable for trips within 40 km from the urban centre. Therefore, there will not be a RM1.00 bus fare subsidy for the Kuching/Serian/Tebedu route.

 

The Honourable member for Tellian

145. For the information of the Honourable Member for Tellian, the upgrading of traffic light system to SMART traffic light at Jalan Mohammad Pauzi / Jalan Orang Kaya Setiaraja Junction, in Mukah has been approved under the 12th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review (12MP-MTR) with a scheme value of RM347,000.00. The project is expected to commence later this year.

146. Additionally, the installation of the SMART traffic light project at Jalan Wawasan and Jalan Setia 2 Junction has also been approved under the 12th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review with a scheme value of RM2.65 million. The project is expected to commence in 2025.

 

WAY FORWARD IN SARAWAK TRANSPORTATION SECTOR

Tuan Speaker,

147. My Ministry is embarking on the journey to revolutionise Sarawak’s transport sector with aims to foster sustainable development while propelling economic growth and ensuring social inclusivity. An efficient and modern transport infrastructure plays a critical role in driving prosperity and connectivity across the region. Therefore, my Ministry in collaboration with relevant agencies are planning the strategies and initiatives to meet the evolving transport demands in Sarawak.

148. My Ministry is currently conducting the Sarawak Integrated Transport Master Plan Study and the Miri Urban Transport Action Plan. The studies analyse Sarawak’s transport demands and forecasts, decarbonisation strategy to mitigate environmental impacts, identify areas for improvement and innovation, assess financing and investment needs in the transport sector, and focus on regulatory and legal matters to develop transport policies that enables a holistic approach to transport development and operation to meet the needs in Sarawak.

 

Promoting Green mobility

Tuan Speaker,

149. According to the National Energy Transition Roadmap, the transport sector remains a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Malaysia, primarily due to emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

150. Road transport alone contributes to 55 MtCO2eq (metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), constituting 85% of total transport emissions. Additionally, Malaysia’s substantial fleet of private passenger vehicles has adverse effects such as increased carbon emissions, urban traffic congestion and compromised air quality. Addressing these challenges necessitates a modal shift in transport and promoting alternative fuel economy.

151. In response, Malaysia has set targets for public transport modal share to reach 40% by 2040 and 60% by 2050. Achieving these goals requires the development of robust public transport infrastructure and improved connectivity to encourage a shift towards public transport.

152. In Sarawak, aside from the ongoing studies to strategise for a sustainable and modernised transport sector such as Sarawak Integrated Transport Masterplan, several awareness programmes and initiatives, including the RM1.00 Flat Rate Bus Fare Subsidy Programme, have been implemented to promote public transport usage and raise awareness about green mobility.

153. For maritime transport, my Ministry is developing plans especially for boats in rivers and dams to migrate to electric propulsion. For other types of fuel, the development of the infrastructure for bunkering will take a longer time. With Sarawak moving into hydrogen production on a large scale, the future plan would require bunkering facilities for big vessels in all ports in Sarawak for marine transport propulsion to go green.

154. For aviation, at the third ICAO Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Dubai held in November 2023, a new ICAO Global Framework for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), Lower Carbon Aviation Fuels (LCAF) and other Aviation Cleaner Energies was adopted. The adoption of these frameworks signifies a collective commitment by ICAO and its member states to strive to reduce CO2 emissions in international aviation by 5 percent by 2030, compared to zero cleaner energy use.

155. In line with the 2050 ICAO vision and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) member airlines’ commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050, Sarawak Government is on track with the development of SAF through algae biomass. A significant milestone was achieved on 22nd May 2023 when YAB Premier launched the first aircraft to use Sarawak’s SAF as part of its mixed fuel. The aircraft, an Air Baltic Airbus 220-300 made a transit in Kuching from Bangkok enroute to the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023.

 

Road Safety Initiatives

Tuan Speaker,

156. For the information of this august House, road accidents in Sarawak are indeed alarming. Based on the Royal Malaysia Police Department (PDRM) report, Sarawak has recorded a total of 21,418 road accidents for the year 2023. Out of these 21,418 road accidents, there are 150 serious accidents and 378 deaths. These figures show an increase of 9.8% in road accidents compared to 19,507 road accidents in 2022.

157. As of April 2024, Sarawak has recorded a total of 7,153 road accidents. Based on these statistics, motorcars recorded the highest number and accounts for more than half of the total number of cases, followed by four-wheel drive vehicles and motorcycles which shows the need to increase awareness among road users.

158. In our ongoing efforts to enhance road safety awareness, my Ministry collaborates closely with the Sarawak Road Safety Council to implement road safety awareness campaigns. The campaigns are held annually before major festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai festival in various divisions such as Kuching, Betong, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu as a continuous effort to promote road safety awareness among road users and travellers during the festive season.

159. In addition, I recently had a meeting with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), also a member of ASEAN New Car Assessment Program (ASEANCAP) on the potential collaboration to enhance road safety in Sarawak. This partnership aims to conduct thorough investigations into road accidents in Sarawak especially at Pan Borneo Highway as well as develop road safety plans and strategies for Sarawak. These programmes will be crucial in ensuring our relevant agencies are equipped with the knowledge and skills to enhance road safety, ensure our communities are equipped and adhere to road safety regulations and significantly enhance road safety and reduce road accidents in Sarawak.

 

Transport Awareness Behavioural Change

Tuan Speaker,

160. In addition to road safety campaigns, my Ministry through the Transport-Awareness Behavioral Change (T-ABC) programme aims to instil road safety awareness and behavioural change in road users through talks, exhibitions and public engagement in all twelve (12) divisions.

161. Since its implementation, the T-ABC programme has been conducted in Kuching, Miri and recently in Sri Aman Division. The programme involved Heads of Departments, Ketua Masyarakat and Ketua Kaum (KMKK), Non Government Organizations (NGOs), PIBGs and secondary school students as the target group.

162. My Ministry will continue our collaborations with enforcement departments and relevant agencies to drive awareness on road safety and behavioural change particularly in educating Pan Borneo Highway’s traffic regulation.

 

Trans Borneo Railway

Tuan Speaker,

163. I am pleased to inform this August house that my Ministry is a member of the Technical Committee of the Trans Borneo Railway Feasibility Study. The Ministry of Transport Malaysia has tendered this feasibility study in March 2024 and is currently in the process of tender evaluations.

164. The scope of the feasibility study is to evaluate factors such as route and station options, cost estimates, sustainable development, environmental impacts, and potential socio-economic benefits to Sarawak, Sabah, Kalimantan and Brunei.

 

Acquisition of Marina Awam Kuching

Tuan Speaker,

165. My Ministry is also in the final stage of negotiation to take over the Marina Awam Kuching. The acquisition is expected to be finalised by the end of this year.

 

Progress on the Acquisition of MASwings

Tuan Speaker,

166. Let me share with this august House on the progress of the acquisition of MASwings Sdn. Bhd.

167. Currently, the Sarawak Government is in the final stage of conducting due diligence on various aspects of MASwings Sdn. Bhd. When the process of the due diligence is complete, the Sarawak Government will enter negotiations with Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) regarding the purchase price for the acquisition of MASwings.

168. After the acquisition, the immediate priority will be to ensure a seamless transition of MASwings from MAG ownership within a timeframe of 6 months. This process will involve obtaining necessary approvals from regulators, addressing technical aspects and stabilising Rural Air Services (RAS) operations in Sarawak and Sabah.

169. Concurrently, the Sarawak Government will develop a plan to expand the airline’s operations regionally, including expanding the fleet and introducing new routes. We envision that the Sarawak-owned airline will commence its operations by 2025, marking a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance air connectivity and accessibility in the region.

Improve Air Connectivity – International Routes

Tuan Speaker,

170. In enhancing international air connectivity, my Ministry in collaboration with MAHB and STB attended the Routes Asia Conference in Langkawi earlier this year. It is a route development event dedicated to Asia Pacific, which provides a platform for the region’s airlines, airports, tourism authorities and aviation stakeholders to meet, share best practice and come together to develop network strategies and ensure future air service development across the Asia Pacific.

171. It allows Sarawak to participate in shaping the future of air travel and ensures that Sarawak’s interests are represented and considered in broader discussions about air service development and infrastructure investment. These can lead to new air service agreements, partnerships and collaborations, which serves as a platform for showcasing Sarawak’s potential, attracting investment and driving growth in the aviation sector and position Sarawak as a key player in the Asia Pacific aviation market.

172. At Routes Asia 2024, my Ministry has engaged with representatives from various airlines to explore potential air connectivity opportunities for Sarawak, which includes PT Garuda Indonesia, AirAsia Group, Xiamen Airlines, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Jeju Air and Saudia Airlines, formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines to propose new route development from the respective airlines’ destinations.

173. Additionally, my Ministry is also engaging with the Sarawak Economic Planning Unit, Sarawak Tourism Board and related agencies in drafting a comprehensive plan to enhance international air connectivity and attract new airlines to operate routes into Sarawak. This includes providing incentives to support new airlines in operating new routes into Sarawak, which could include financial subsidies, marketing support, or reduced landing fees and parking fees to entice airlines to invest in the new routes.

 

Logistics and Cargo Facilities in Sarawak Airports

Tuan Speaker,

174. My Ministry remains dedicated to collaborating with all cargo stakeholders to promote a robust and secure cargo ecosystem that supports the economic growth and development of the region. We recognise the importance of the cargo facilities and infrastructure in Sarawak Airports to the cargo business players.

175. Recently, I had a dialogue with the stakeholders where they raised various concerns, issues, and updates related to the cargo area facilities and infrastructure in Sarawak Airports. Recognising the urgency of addressing cargo issues at Sarawak Airports, I have urged my Ministry, together with Malaysia Airports Sdn. Bhd. (MASB), and stakeholders to collaborate in resolving the raised issues.

176. I have also proposed for MASB to widen the road access to the cargo terminal at Kuching International Airport as this access route is vital not only for cargo operations but also for emergencies, connecting to the CAAM Air Traffic Control Centre and tower.

177. Exciting developments are on the horizon, with MASkargo’s expansion plan slated to kick off this August, promising a significant increase in facility space to 71,000 square feet. Furthermore, Pos Aviation’s acquisition of additional space at the former MASB engineering depot signals a promising alleviation of space constraints, ensuring smooth operations and bolstered capacity.

178. Through collaborative endeavours and proactive initiatives, we are poised to fortify Sarawak’s cargo infrastructure and facilities, thereby catalysing economic growth and development throughout the region.

 

Progress of Establishment of Sarawak Transport Authority

Tuan Speaker,

179. As previously announced by YAB Premier, the Sarawak Government plans to establish the Sarawak Transport Authority to manage and regulate the transportation system in Sarawak. This is in line with the plan to develop a more systematic and modern public transport system, especially through the KUTS as well as the setting up of Sarawak’s own airline.

180. To ensure the successful establishment of this authority, a comprehensive study is imperative. Consequently, my Ministry is undertaking this study, with the official appointment of consultants on 3rd May 2024.

 

Strengthening of MOTS

Tuan Speaker,

181. The ministry of Transport Sarawak, God willing, will celebrate its 5th Anniversary on the coming 22nd August. From a humble beginning 5 years ago, the Ministry has grown by leaps and bounds into an important organisation whose roles and functions have been acknowledged by the transport industry players outside of Sarawak.

182. In order to face the ever increasing demand of this transport industry and to bring the Ministry into greater heights, we have always strive to improve ourselves, both internally and externally.

 

MS ISO 9001:2015 Certification

183. As part of our continuous efforts for improvement, I am very pleased to announce that my Ministry has achieved another milestone after being recently approved to be awarded the MS ISO 9001:2015 certification on 28th April 2024.

 

Strengthening of Integrity and Risk Management

Tuan Speaker,

184. Integrity is the main pillar to strengthen an organisation. Various initiatives have been carried out to enforce integrity in the Ministry. Last March, my ministry has also made a mid-term review on the Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP) to ensure that the corruption risks in the plan remain relevant to the current situation in the Ministry.

185. Integrity continues to be strengthened within the Ministry through strategic collaboration with agencies that function to fight against corruption. My Ministry has collaborated with Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) in one of the integrity programmes that will be held throughout this year, that is Siri Jelajah Integriti Bersama Agensi Kementerian Pengangkutan Sarawak.

 

CONCLUSION

Tuan Speaker,

186. The journey to transform Sarawak’s transport sector is a tremendous endeavour that encompasses comprehensive strategic planning with consideration of regulatory and policy frameworks, infrastructure development, technology integration, capacity building and skills development as well as environmental consideration. These efforts are aimed at meeting the evolving transport demands of our region while mitigating environmental impacts and ensuring connectivity and accessibility for all.

187. As we move forward, we are committed to plan and implement strategies and policies in collaboration with strategic partners, relevant stakeholders and the community to achieve our shared goals. The future of Sarawak is bright, and with dedicated collaboration and commitment, we are confident in creating a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous Sarawak that benefits everyone.

 

Thanks and Appreciation

188. Before I conclude, I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Tuan Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the team for upholding the decorum and dignity of this august House throughout its proceedings.

189. My sincere appreciation also to the Permanent Secretary and officers of the Ministry of Transport Sarawak for their steadfast commitment, as well as to all the relevant agencies for their collaborative efforts.

190. I wish to extend my gratitude to the State Secretary, State Financial Secretary, State Attorney-General and officers from the various Sarawak and Federal Ministries and Agencies for their diligence and contributions in facilitating and supporting the smooth proceedings of this august House.

191. Lastly, special thanks also to the media for their coverage of the proceedings.

Well Wishes

192. Walaupun Syawal telah melabuhkan tirainya, semoga tidak terlambat untuk saya mengucapkan Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri kepada semua yang menyambutnya. Di kesempatan ini juga, saya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Hari Pekerja, Selamat Hari Ibu, Selamat Hari Guru dan Selamat Hari Wesak yang disambut dalam bulan Mei ini.

193. As the Gawai Dayak celebration is approaching very soon, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Dayaks, both near and far, a very joyous festival. Let us use this occasion to strengthen our unity so that our beloved multi-racial and multi- religious Sarawak will continue to be the beacon of peace and a model not only in Malaysia but the whole world.

 

Ngajih ka kita

gayu guru, gerai nyamai,

lantang senang, nguan menua, 

chelap lindap, betuah belimpah,

segulai sejalai mai pemansang…

Oooohaaaaa!

 

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