GEORGE TOWN, Sept 2 — The Penang government wants Putrajaya to confirm if Kulim International Airport (KXP) was approved despite the ongoing National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP) study.
Penang Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari (PH-Tanjung Bungah) said the Transport Ministry has put the Penang International Airport (PIA) expansion project on hold due to the NASP study, with the explanation that all airport-related projects are suspended pending the completion of the study.
“If the KXP project was not approved, the federal government must explain if KXP is allowed to commence,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly today.
He also said the proposed construction of KXP must be further scrutinised in detail and that the state has clearly stated its stance on this to the National Physical Planning Council (NPPC) through the working committee meetings.
“In the same meetings, the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) has pointed out that there is a river in the middle of the proposed KXP site and the diversion of Sungai Jerung is not encouraged,” he said.
He said DID has also said that the Sungai Muda water quality near to the proposed KXP site must be preserved especially when the river is the main clean water source for Penang and Kedah.
Other than the risks posed to the river, he said the federal government must explain the status of the KXP project as it was also related to the PIA expansion project.
He said the PIA expansion project is needed as the airport was operating at overcapacity for a long time where it reached 8.3 million passengers in 2019, even though its capacity is 6.5 million.
He pointed out that the PIA expansion project was approved by the then Pakatan Harapan government but it was postponed when a new government was formed last year.