27/05/2024 07:42 PM

From Muhammad Saufee Rosman

SHANGHAI, May 27 (Bernama) -- MARA Corporation (MARA Corp) today signed cooperation agreements with two big companies in China to explore new business ventures, especially renewable energy, repair and maintenance of electric vehicle (EV) buses and solar energy storage and batteries.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the initiative of the group of companies under the Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) was the first step in helping the government to change public transportation from using diesel engines to EVs.

"… But, more importantly, is the acquisition of new technology in public transportation (through the collaboration) and we have made a game changer to the public transport (sector).

"We know that the Cabinet directive has requested that all buses (in Malaysia) be gradually converted from diesel to EV and this is being done by MARALiner together with a local company (from Malaysia) that manufactures buses (SKS Coach Builders Sdn Bhd (SKS)) and they have vast experience,” he told the Malaysian media here today.

He said this after witnessing the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the memorandum of agreement (MoA) and the letter of intent (LoI) between SKS and CRRC Corporation (CRRC); MARALiner and SKS; and MARA Corp and China Electrical Equipment Group (CEEG) respectively.

CRRC, through its subsidiary CRRC EV, is the leader in EV bus manufacturing with sales of over 120,000 units, thus far. CEEG, meanwhile, has four groups of companies with 150 subsidiaries supplying 200 substations and 6,000 kilometres of transmission lines in 50 countries worldwide.

Ahmad Zahid, also the Minister of Rural and Regional Development, is on his first official visit to China since being appointed Deputy Prime Minister in December 2022. The 11-day visit from May 22 is at the invitation of Chinese Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang.

Ahmad Zahid said that currently, 60,000 diesel buses in Malaysia need to switch to EV in stages in the next 10 years as stipulated at the previous Cabinet meeting.

"We see that in the long run, this will reduce carbon emissions and be cheaper than using diesel.

"However, I will discuss it in detail with the Transport Minister (regarding the period stipulated for the conversion of the 60,000 diesel buses to EVs),” he said.

Meanwhile, MARA Corporation through MARALiner intends to be a leader in the supply of EV buses, including direct sales and leasing for public and government transport, involving an estimated 800 buses valued at around RM960 million.

MARA, in a statement, said the business collaboration with the two companies from China would benefit the development of human capital, particularly in the field of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) through advanced training and employment opportunities specifically for MARA TVET students, in which CRRC and CEEG would be involved in providing technical and industrial support in the development of the Malaysia China Institute (MCI).

"In addition, MARA's vendor development ecosystem and entrepreneurs will benefit from this collaboration through the involvement of local vendors in the supply of EV bus components and also the surge in business opportunities for entrepreneurs under MARA’s ProPower programme through the transfer of technology and expertise received from these major Chinese companies," it added.


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