LANGKAWI, March 28 — A Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub will be set up in Kedah, following the signing of seven memorandums of understanding (MOU) at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA’19) here today.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir witnessed the signing of the MOUs between Mentri Besar Kedah Incorporated (MBI Kedah) and four companies, namely, Global Aerospace Sdn Bhd, AeroPlans Asia Sdn Bhd, UA Aerospace Sdn Bhd and TGAC Group.
“The MOUs signed here today came at the right time after the federal government’s approval of a RM1.6 billion allocation for the development of Kulim International Airport or KXP,” he said in his speech.
Mukhriz said he had, since 2013, envisioned an international airport capable of handling cargo to be built in the state for domestic industries to export goods and produce from the state and the northern region.
He said once KXP is completed, it will be an alternative to the sea port in Klang or the Bayan Lepas Airport in Penang, to transport cargo out of the northern area.
“In addition to the KXP, we are opening in Bukit Kayu Hitam, an inland port featuring an integrated border security system and a single clearance inspection for goods entering Malaysia from Thailand and Indochina,” he said.
He said this will be another step forward in improving the state’s economic development.
The signing of the agreements will see the construction of the Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub along with establishing the final assembly facilities for Avic Harbin Y12 aircraft and MRO Centre for Avic Harbin A312E Helicopter.
He hoped the signing of the MOUs today will spur growth in the aviation and aerospace industry in Kedah and the country.
“I understand that the Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub will encompass several facilities throughout the state of Kedah,” he said.
Mukhriz said this is in line with the state’s aim of turning to new and potential sectors to strengthen the state’s economic growth.
Later in a press conference, MBI Kedah Chief Executive officer Mahadi Mohamad said the proposed hub will primarily be located in Alor Setar.
“We will also look at Langkawi and potentially Kulim,” he said.
He said they are expecting investments of between RM1 billion and RM2 billion for the hub, depending on the industries that will be built in Alor Setar and Kulim.
He added that the construction of the new assembly facilities for Avic Harbin Y12 aircraft and MRO Centre for Avic Harbin A312E Helicopter will complement an existing aviation manufacturing plant in Bukit Kayu Hitam that produces composite products for Boeing and Airbus.
The aerospace hub will be implemented in three phases, the first of which is the assembly facilities at Alor Setar to be followed by manufacturing facilities and the final phase of technology transfer from companies to students in Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).
“The construction of the first phase is expected to start in the first quarter of next year and we expect it to be in full operation by the end of 2020,” he said.
He added that the first phase will create about 800 jobs in Alor Setar while the second and third phases will create about 2,000 jobs.
He hoped that MBI Kedah can continue to garner investors’ interest to invest in Kedah especially during LIMA’19.
“We have met several companies here and they have expressed interest in working with MBI Kedah and our subsidiaries so we hope to discuss further with them after this event,” he said.