New Airport For Sabah S West Coast Possible Says Cm


Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (second from left) attending the closed-door 12MP engagement session with Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (third from left). (Chief Minister’s Department pic)KOTA KINABALU: The government is mulling a plan to build a new airport to ease congestion at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) within the next few years
Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said the plan is still under discussion and believes the situation must be addressed soon
“The KKIA airport has limited capacity and can receive nine million travellers a year
“At the moment, we already have well above eight million travellers coming and going through KKIA
“In the next five years, the airport will exceed its maximum capacity
“This is one of the matters that was discussed today and which needs to be given priority,” he said after attending an engagement session organised by the economic affairs ministry to gather feedback for the preparation of the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) here today
Previously, there had been a plan to build a new airport in Kimanis, 45km from here, but it was later scrapped and the KKIA was upgraded instead
Shafie said this plan is still under discussion and did not deny that the government is making it a priority as it looks for a way to resolve the anticipated congestion problem at KKIA
“For now, that issue is still too premature for me to say anything about the cost or the design.”According to statistics released by the tourism ministry, Sabah is receiving more than three million foreign tourists annually
This means Sabah has a high potential to become an influential tourism hub in the region and the tourism ministry is focusing its efforts on attracting wealthy tourists from countries like China and the Philippines
Meanwhile, commenting on the engagement session, Shafie said Sabah is looking to diversify its economy and expand downstream activities instead of maintaining its dependence on exports of raw materials
He said the state will strive to ensure its food security is intact and will open more land for agricultural activities
“Gone are the days when we only export raw materials like rubber and palm oil. We must go downstream and industrialise Sabah to provide more job opportunities for our people.”He said the oil and gas industry, in particular, was important, especially because more than half of the oil and gas in the country comes from Sabah
ronically, he said the industry does not provide enough benefits for Sabahans in terms of job opportunities or even downstream activities
Hence, the state government had held a discussion with Petronas to develop more oil and gas-related industrial clusters in Sabah to help develop more downstream activities in the state. - FMT

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