GEORGE TOWN, Feb 14 — Penang will be commissioning a study on possibly building a new international airport on reclaimed land next to Batu Maung here.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) has said it is willing to conduct the study for Penang.
“We received the response from NCIA last week and they will conduct the study for us by getting a budget from the transport ministry,” he said.
He said if NCIA could not obtain funds from the federal government, the state government will finance the study on its own.
“The study will take into account Kedah’s proposed Kulim International Airport and any other proposals in the northern region,” he told reporters during the Penang Development Corporation’s (PDC) Chinese New Year celebration here today.
He said Transport Minister Anthony Loke has said Putrajaya did not approve Kedah’s proposed Kulim International Airport project as yet.
“This is why we need to do a study, I believe Kedah completed a study for the Kulim airport without referring to us as it was done in the past but after the change in government, the mentri besar saw fit to consult us about it,” he said.
Chow said Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir met with him last year to seek Penang’s support for the Kulim airport.
“We did not say we reject it or support it, at that time, he told us it will be a cargo airport and not a passenger airport,” he said.
Chow said the state had then asked Kedah to send a copy of its feasibility studies for the Kulim airport to Penang.
“We received the report late last year and clearly it included a passenger airport, not only a cargo airport,” he said.
He wondered if it was feasible to have a second airport in Kulim and if it was a cargo airport, what type of cargo it will serve.
“If it is to serve primary products, probably the seaport is more appropriate and if it is for electronic airports, I believe Bayan Lepas is serving the industry well,” he said.
Chow was commenting on Mukhriz’s recent announcement that a special entity, KXP Airport City Holdings Sdn Bhd, was set up to plan, coordinate and manage the development of Kulim International Airport.
He said there were a lot of concerns on the proposed Kulim airport and its impact on Penang.
Chow said the proposed Kulim airport was not new as it was mooted more than a decade ago.
“Only now it looks serious as a feasibility study was done and a special purpose vehicle was set up,” he said.
It was reported in December that Kedah plans to build the estimated RM1.6 billion airport in Kulim through a private initiative.