KUCHING, March 24 — The state government did not buy the five hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai used as the official cars of state leaders, but received them as gifts from UMW Toyota, the Sarawak Premier’s Office (SPO) said today in response to recent claims by Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan.
The SPO said as Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia with a hydrogen station, UMW Toyota gave the vehicles to the government to promote green energy.
“In Malaysia, Sarawak is the prime promoter of green energy,” the SPO said.
It said UMW Toyota had presented four cars to the federal government, along with a fifth vehicle to the Sarawak government for official use by Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg in recognition of his green energy stance.
However, the federal government gave the four cars to the Sarawak Energy Development Corporation since it does not have a hydrogen station, the SPO added.
Sarawak’s three deputy premiers — Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian — were presented with one car each two days ago for their official use.
In his statement earlier today, Voon said the state government should take its cue from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and cut spending.
He said the state government should not have purchased new cars for the three deputy premiers, claiming that the vehicles were not cheap and their maintenance high.
“What is wrong with the current official cars that all of them have now?
“The state government is answerable to the taxpayers for spending their money,” he said, adding that the premier should justify the reason for the new cars.
Voon said the state government should think of the people at a time when the cost of living is escalating.
He said the state government must not forget that those living in rural areas still do not have access to proper roads, clean water and other utilities.
“Instead, of new cars, why not use the money to help them, especially the schoolchildren. If Sarawak wants to progress, the best thing is to invest in education for our children,” he said.