GEORGE TOWN (May 7): Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng hopes that the Penang International Airport (PIA) and the proposed Kulim Airport (KXP) will complement each other instead of competing against each other.
Lim who is also the Member of Parliament for Bagan said the Federal Government fully understood the concerns raised by Penang over the impact of KXP.
“The state doesn’t have to worry that the PIA will be closed down as we are the Government which approved the expansion plan and once it is expanded, we will not allow it to close, so it is impossible,” he told reporters here yesterday.
The PIA which had exceeded the maximum capacity of 6.5 million passengers, will undergo an expansion plan to increase its capacity to 16 million passengers.
However, Lim said most logistics and the supply chain are centred in the PIA so they are likely to continue using the PIA while the KXP is expected to cater for Kedah.
He also reiterated that as a Finance Minister, he had no objection on the KXP proposal as his Ministry would not have to come up with the funds for it.
He said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Kedah Government felt that the Kulim airport is crucial to attracting foreign direct investments.
“The decision on the Kulim airport has to be respected and since it doesn’t involve public funds, the Finance Ministry did not object to it,” he said.
The proposed RM1.6 billion KXP will be a private finance initiative so the Federal Government need not fund its construction.
Meanwhile at a separate media conference, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow hoped that the Transport Ministry would immediately have a discussion with the Penang and Kedah State Governments following the proposed construction.
He said he had raised the proposal at the meeting of the Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers chaired by the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Feb 26.