KUCHING: The importance of good public transport network in Sarawak cannot be overstressed.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said this in defending the implementation of the ART project.
To him (and hopefully everybody else as well) a good public transport network is important for the development of the state and real estate.
He appreciates the fact that in facilitating the movement of people and goods around the state, it saves time and, in this sense, makes true the old proverb, “Time is money”.
Put simply, it means that time is a valuable resource; therefore, it’s better to do things as quickly as possible.
This partly explains the push to develop the city’s Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system along a 52.6-km route. The construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year and should be operational by 2025.
In a recent interview with a Singaporean daily, The Straits Times, Abang Johari said that a good public transport network could and would attract investors and tourists, just like what has happened in Singapore.
“When Singapore left Malaysia, the late prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew … and Goh Keng Swee had a very good model. What they did was change the whole of Orchard Road. When you have developed Orchard Road, tourism, a very important sector, flourished.
“Your EDB (Economic Development Board) really put extra effort in (building) your airport … and port facilities. People can see the future of Singapore through your airport,” The Straits Times reported.
He recalled that some people criticised him, especially when the state embarked on its digital economy.
“Then when the pandemic hit, they realised the importance of e-commerce,” he said.