GEORGE TOWN, May 14 ― The proposed Kulim International Airport will directly compete with the existing Penang International Airport (PIA) and cripple the island state’s economy in the long run, Gerakan said today.
Unexpectedly supporting the DAP-led Penang government’s argument, state Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong proposed the Kedah government expand its Alor Setar Airport instead.
“With a newer, modern Kulim Airport as competition, Penang’s economy will suffer and the proposed LRT and highways under the Penang Transport Master Plan will become white elephants,” he said.
He said the Penang state government might as well give up on its ambitious RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) as the state will suffer economically due to the Kulim Airport.
“With a suffering economy, there is no need for PTMP or LRT anymore as investors would have left, factories would have shifted away,” he said.
He pointed out that the proposed Kulim airport will only be 46km from PIA.
“Looking at the proximity, we know that it will be competing with PIA, Penang will be badly affected,” he said.
He said PIA will become like Subang Airport or worse after Kulim Airport is completed.
“Factories and investors come to Penang island because of the convenience of the PIA nearby but with Kulim Airport, they might move to Kulim and nearby Taiping,” he said.
He said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government’s insistence on building the Kulim Airport was as if it planned to “sacrifice the PIA” and Penang.
He said former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, had in 2014, opposed to the Kulim Airport but now that he is the Finance Minister, he made a “U-turn” with regards to the Kulim Airport.
He called on the current Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to be firm in his stance regarding the Kulim Airport.
“Chow must stand his ground to stop the Kulim Airport instead of waiting for meetings with Kedah and the Transport Ministry,” he said.
He said it appeared that these DAP leaders, namely Chow, Lim and Transport Minister Anthony Loke, were afraid of its PH ally, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
“DAP leaders are now afraid of Bersatu, they dare not go against the prime minister from Bersatu and the Kedah mentri besar who is also from Bersatu,” he claimed.
He said both Lim and Chow should resign from their posts for their failure to defend the PIA and Penang by allowing Kedah to build the Kulim Airport.