Penang Has No Objections To A New International Airport Costing More Than RM 2 Billion Being Built In Kulim, Kedah, If The Penang International Airport Is Upgraded(en/cn)

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 15.6.2014.

Penang Has No Objections To A New International Airport Costing More Than RM 2 Billion Being Built In Kulim, Kedah, If The Penang International Airport Is Upgraded With 2 Runways, A Fully-Integrated Air Cargo Facility As Well As Establish A Maintenance, Repair And Overhaul(MRO) Hub.

Penang has no objection to a new international airport costing easily more than RM 2 billion being built in Kulim, Kedah, if the Penang International Airport can be upgraded with 2 runways, a fully-integrated air cargo facility as well as establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul(MRO) aerospace hub. The cost of the new international airport in Kulim is a conservative estimate and could be double the amount based on the final cost of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2(KLIA2) ballooning to RM 4 billion from the original estimate of RM 1.7 billion.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir claimed that building an international airport in Kulim, Kedah, was not a waste of money like Penang’s proposed tunnel project as it would be a gateway to the northern states and southern Thailand. He added that Penang had limited land space unlike Kedah, which had enough land for an airport.

It is untrue to say that Penang has no more land for the expansion of the existing Penang International Airport, which carried 5.5 million passengers last year and is reaching the maximum capacity of 6.5 million passengers. With the present overcrowding, a further expansion of the Penang International Airport is now urgently needed. Land can be reclaimed on the south of the Penang International airport and the necessary provision has been made for an additional 300-500 acres for reclamation where necessary.

Mukhriz’s attack on Penang’s under water sea tunnel project and 3 additional major highway projects in the island costing a total of RM6.3 billion as a waste of money, is a desperate attempt to divert attention from the impracticality of spending billions of ringgit on a new international airport in Kulim. How can building roads to improve connectivity for the convenience of the public be a waste of money? To follow his logic, then the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah or the Penang 2nd Bridge costing RM4.5 billion should also not be built as it is a waste of money.

Building a new international airport in Kulim to be a gateway to northern states and south Thailand as an obvious device to replace, instead of focusing on upgrading the existing over-capacity Penang International Airport, would ultimately erode Malaysia’s economic competitiveness and comparative advantage. Penang has established itself as the top location of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malaysia with RM 19.7 billion or nearly 20% of Malaysia’s total FDI from 2010 to August 2013.

On this basis if Mukhriz feels it is economically feasible and justifiable for Kedah to have an additional international airport, then applying the same logic would mean that Penang should have two more international airports. Penang is the top location of choice of investors not only because of the well-connected logistics, communications and transport facilities but also due to “soft assets” of availability of human talent, sophisticated supply chain, livable city and good governance.

For this reason, the Federal government should strive to retain these foreign investors by upgrading the Penang International Airport by building 2 runways, an integrated air cargo facility and a MRO aerospace hub. As the most profitable air cargo hub in Malaysia, an integrated air cargo facility in Penang should be established to leverage on existing advantages.

The Penang state government will have no objections after the airport upgrade in Penang if the Federal and Kedah government still feels that an additional new international airport is required in Kulim.

Due to the high costs involved, building a new international airport from scratch is not a decision to be taken lightly or else the people are left with the heavy expense of building a while elephant. Malacca’s RM250 million airport is good example of such a white elephant where it is now an empty and unused airport.

LIM GUAN ENG

—-Mandarin Version —

槟州首席部长林冠英于2014年6月15日在光大发表声明:

如果槟城国际机场能提升至两条跑道、拥有完整综合空运设施,以及一个航空维修、修理及检查(MRO)中心,槟州不会反对在吉打居林兴建价值20亿令吉的国际机场。

如果槟城国际机场能提升至两条跑道、拥有完整综合空运设施,以及一个航空维修、修理及检查(MRO)中心,槟州不会反对在吉打居林兴建价值20亿令吉的国际机场。居林新机场的成本只是一个保守估计,它可以翻倍,就像吉隆坡第二国际机场那样,兴建成本从原本的17亿令吉,飚升到40亿令吉。

吉打州政府拿督斯里慕克里兹声称,在吉打居林兴建一座国际机场,不会像槟城建议的海底隧道那样浪费钱,国际机场将成为北部州属及泰南的大门。他也说,槟城土地很少,不像吉打,拥有足够的土地兴建机场。

若说槟城没有土地用来扩建机场,那是不对的。槟城国际机场去年载客量达550万人次,就快达到650万人次的饱和点。由于现在已经过于拥挤,我们需要尽快扩建槟城国际机场。我们可以在槟城国际机场的南部进行填海,我们也已经为必要时填海300-500英亩做出准备。

慕克里兹攻击槟州计划进行价值63亿令吉的三条高速公路及一条海底隧道的做法是浪费钱,他是否如此绝望,以至于要利用槟城的基建来转移视线,以掩饰他在居林花几十亿兴建国际机场的不切实际?兴建道路来加强交通连接、让公众方便,怎能算是浪费钱?按他的逻辑来说,价值45亿令吉的槟州二桥也是浪费钱、不该建。

联邦政府不着重于提升现有过度拥挤的槟城国际机场,反而提出要在吉打居林兴建新的国际机场,做为北马及泰南的入口,很明显地是要取代槟州国际机场,这最终将腐蚀马来西亚的经济竞争力及比较优势。槟城已经努力地成为投资者的首选地,在2010年至2013年8月期间,槟州所获外国投资额达197亿令吉,占全国外国投资额的20%。

就此而言,如果慕克里兹觉得吉打兴建国际机场在经济上是可行的、合理的,那么按照有关逻辑槟城就应该拥有超过两个国际机场。槟城是投资者的首选地,不只是因为它在物流方面的良好连接、通讯及交通设施,也归功于它的软件如:人才、完善的供应链、宜居城市及良好施政。

因此,联邦政府应该致力于提升槟城国际机场至两条跑道、拥有完整综合空运设施,以及一个航空维修、修理及检查(MRO)中心,以留住外国投资者。做为全国最赚钱的航空运输中心 ,我们需要兴建综合航空运输设施,以让现有的优势发挥最大的影响力。

如果联邦政府及吉打政府还是觉得有必要在居林兴建一座国际机场,那么请先提升槟城的国际机场,之后槟州政府不会再反对。
由于兴建全新的国际机场涉及巨额开销,当局不应取巧轻易地做出决定,否则最终只会剩下白象工程留给人民。马六甲耗资2亿5000万令吉兴建的机场就是一个白象工程的例子,它已经变成空置及无用的机场。

林冠英

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