GEORGE TOWN, June 12 — Gerakan has called on Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to make a stand and protect the Penang International Airport (PIA) in light of two recent airport proposals on mainland Penang.
Gerakan Deputy President Oh Tong Keong said clearly the PIA is being “threatened” by these proposals and is facing the prospect of being closed down.
“In such a situation, the chief minister is still in the dark about it while the proposals have already been presented to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) so does this mean Penang has been forgotten?” he asked.
He said the private company submitted its proposal for a new airport on Southern Seberang Perai to the PMO on January 14 this year, yet Chow had been left out of the loop.
He said it was time that Chow did something about it before the proposal gets approved unbeknownst to the state.
He said if the proposal was approved, it would spell the end for the PIA and it could heavily impact the state’s economy and its people.
Oh, who was also Penang Gerakan chairman, was commenting on recent reports published by The Star newspaper that two private companies had submitted proposals to build new airports on the mainland side of the state.
One of the companies had proposed that tracts of paddy fields be cleared to build a new airport and the current PIA site be handed over to it for redevelopment, while another company proposed reclaiming 5,000 acres off the mainland to build a new airport.
Today, in a press conference, when asked about the airport proposals, Chow insisted that he doesn’t know anything about it.
“They didn’t send the proposal to us, we didn’t know about it at all,” he said.
He said regardless of when the companies made the proposals, the state did not know anything about it.
He reiterated his statement two days ago that the state did not receive any such proposals but is only open to proposals that will not affect the PIA.