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The Star - BPMB, UOB, CCB to finance autonomous rapid transit in Kuching


KUALA LUMPUR, 20 July 2023



Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd (BPMB), UOB Malaysia and China Construction Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (CCB Malaysia) have announced a syndication programme to extend financing facilities to EPR Mobilus GR JV Sdn Bhd (EMGJV).


In a joint statement, the parties said EMGJV is the contractor appointed by Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd, a unit of Sarawak Economic Development Corp, to develop Southeast Asia’s first hydrogen-powered, autonomous rapid transit (ART) in Kuching.


Sarawak Metro was entrusted by the state government to implement the Kuching Urban Transportation System (KUTS) project.


According to the statement, the syndication programme comprises a financing package amounting RM264.5mil, which will enable EMGJV to undertake the KUTS Phase 1 project. The completion of the project will see the roll out of the Blue Line (from Rembus in Kota Samarahan to Hikmah Exchange in Kuching city centre), Red Line (from Kuching Sentral to Pending) and Green Line (from Pending to Damai Central).


BPMB, UOB Malaysia and CCB Malaysia are the mandated lead arrangers of the syndication programme.


BPMB group CEO Roni Abdulwahab said the project is aligned with its purpose to deliver impact capital for national development.

"Today, we evaluate all our activities using our assessment framework called MIND (Measuring Impact on National Development), to make sure all of our projects deliver socioeconomic and environmental impact.

"KUTS particularly scores high in our MIND evaluation," he said. Meanwhile UOB Malaysia CEO Ng Wei Wei said the project is aligned to its focus on reducing financed emissions that fall under Scope 3.

"With Sarawak’s abundance of renewable energy resources and its government’s supportive polices, the state clearly has the potential to forefront the transition towards a green, high-value economy and UOB will be happy to support this ambition," she said.

CCB Malaysia deputy managing director Chelsea Ma Yan added that the company is dedicated to providing more comprehensive financial services to industries in Sarawak, in support of its aspiration to become a high-income state by 2030.

The parties said the project is scheduled for pilot testing by the third quarter of 2023, and planned to begin full operations in stages by the fourth quarter of 2025.

Once operational, each ART train can carry up to 300 passengers across the 69.9km Phase 1 alignment of KUTS covering the Kuching metropolitan and Greater Kuching areas.

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