News: Penang CM calls for feasibility study on Kulim airport
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and state executive councillor Yeoh Soon Hin at a press conference in George Town, Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today urged the federal government to conduct a feasibility study on Kedah’s plans to build an international airport in Kulim, following concerns from the business community.
He said businesses have become wary about how the airport might affect them.
“Although the Kulim airport will be privately funded, we feel a study to see how the airport will impact Penang’s economy in the long run ought to be carried out,” he said, adding however that Penang is expected to remain a catalyst of growth in the northern region.
Speaking in a press conference at Farquhar Street here, Chow said the Kedah government had provided a copy of a 2013 feasibility study for the airport.
However, he voiced concern over its accuracy as it had only surveyed some 900 people, the majority of whom supported the project.
“The sample size is too small. Another study should be held,” he said.
The Kulim airport was one of several projects worth RM4.8 billion approved for Kedah, announced yesterday by Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Others include an industrial park near the airport and two highways.
Chow said he is aware of Kedah’s planned projects, as he had attended the same Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) meeting on Monday.
He said most of the projects approved in Kedah are based on private financing initiatives (PFIs), barring some “external infrastructure” which will be funded by the government.
He added that Penang had received similar boosts, the value of which could reach “nearly RM50 billion” including the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
He said he hoped the NCIA and federal government would update Penang’s list of projects under the Northern Corridor Economic Region to include the PTMP, as it is also a form of PFI.
According to Chow, there are eight new projects listed for Penang by the NCIA, including the expansion of the Penang International Airport terminal to accommodate 16 million passengers per annum.
Others include the expansion of Penang Port, an aquaculture project in Balik Pulau and several tourism projects.
The first phase of the Northern Corridor Highway will be a 70km link from Bandar Baharu (south of Kedah) to Sungai Petani which completely bypasses Seberang Perai.
According to graphics supplied by the NCIA, it appears to connect to Kulim, possibly to the planned airport, before ending in Sungai Petani.