Penang Cm Fights Shy Of Regional Airports Plan


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says the Penang International Airport could be jeopardised by the construction of new regional airports in the area.GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says he has been briefed on a private company’s plan to build two regional airports in southern Seberang Perai in exchange for land at the Penang International Airport (PIA) but that it is still “strictly a proposal”
Speaking at the state assembly here today, Chow (PH-Padang Kota) said the plan was related to him in September. He added that other companies are welcome to pitch their proposals to the state government as well
Chow said during question time that the company in question wishes to build an airport on the borders of Kedah, Perak and Penang
However, he voiced concern about the proposal, saying it would affect the status of PIA which is integral to the ecosystem at the Free Industrial Zone in Bayan Lepas
He said PIA would likely be closed down in the event that the new airport is built. He added that the land on which PIA is currently located would be surrendered to the company in return for the new facility
Chow was responding to Goh Choon Aik (PH-Bukit Tambun) who had asked about a report on the proposal of two regional airports in the area
In June, The Star said two companies had proposed the construction of an airport on a reclaimed island off Nibong Tebal and Parit Buntar. The companies also proposed another airport on the mainland in Bandar Baharu, Kedah, near the Penang, Kedah and Perak borders, as an integrated facility for the northern states
According to the report, if either option is taken up, the land on which PIA sits, valued at about RM7.2 billion, will be surrendered to the winning proposer. This would also require the closure of PIA
The transport ministry dismissed the article as speculation, saying the government in fact wishes to expand PIA, while Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had only read about the proposal in the news
Chow said PIA operators have yet to submit the documents for the airport’s expansion plans
He said Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd (MAHB) applied for planning permission on July 19, but is still missing a traffic impact assessment
He also said his government had dropped a study for a new “Northern Corridor” airport since MAHB is carrying out a larger scale, nationwide study on airport development
He said the state might restart the study after MAHB’s is over
MAHB previously announced that PIA would be expanded beginning June 2020 to accommodate an increase in passenger capacity from 6.5 million a year to 12 million
The airport is currently bursting at its seams at 7.8 million passengers a year, 120% higher than its actual capacity. - FMT

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