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Wednesday October 17, 2007

‘Flying hospital’ project awaiting ministry’s nod

MYT 7:31:36 PM

IPOH: Bandar Seri Iskandar may get the world's first airport for medical emergencies if the Transport Ministry gives the project the green light. 

Project developer Casa Pasific Sdn Bhd said it met with ministry officials on Aug 27 and they were receptive to the idea. 

"On March 20, we signed a MOU with the SEDC (Perak State Economic Development Corporation) for the project on a 405ha piece of land," company chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Hilmi Ismail told reporters here Wednesday. 

However, he said work could not begin without the ministry’s approval. 

Dr Mohd Hilmi said the airport was aimed at providing urgent and preventive medical care, including other medical services to people in crisis in the Asia-Pacific region. 

"A 500-bed specialist hospital will also be built within the airport perimeter. The airport will be equipped with a 3,700m-long runway suitable for various types of aircraft,” he said, adding that the airport would also have a teaching hospital to train doctors in crisis management. 

The project, to cost RM1bil, was expected to be completed in 38 months once the company obtained approval, he said, adding that funding for the project would be coming from overseas. 

In February, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali was reported as saying that Tekah airport, one of the country’s oldest, having been built by the British in 1940 in Taiping, had been chosen as the hub for Global Flying Hospitals (GFH), an international body that brings humanitarian medical support to developing countries. 

It is learnt that the runway at Tekah airport was too short to accommodate the plan for the GFH. 

The issue of the airport had been in the limelight following an announcement by Tajol Rosli that a new one should be built at Bandar Seri Iskandar if the Transport Ministry allowed international flights from the proposed airport.


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