KUALA LUMPUR: The Sabah Government’s strategic investment arm, Qhazanah Sabah Bhd (QSB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) to explore the possible relocation of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to Kimanis.
“The MoU establishes preliminary collaboration between both companies, paving the way for QSB to carry out feasibility studies and exploratory works for the proposed project.
“Everything is preliminary at the moment until consensus with all relevant stakeholders is reached,” QSB group chief executive officer Ahmad Rizal Dahli said.
He stressed that feedback from all stakeholders would be taken into consideration and consensus had to be unanimous before any decision is made on the proposed relocation.
“The relocation of KKIA had been suggested in various discussions across the board for a decade. This MoU allows us to look at this in more detail, particularly in terms of economic viability and social impact assessment.
“We are looking forward to tapping on the expertise brought on board by the early partnership with B-Land, particularly on infrastructure development. Any outcome as a result of the feasibility studies would be made in the best interest of the state. This has always been and will continue to be our focus in whatever we do,” Ahmad Rizal said.
He said KKIA is unlikely to be able to expand further in operational terms, including expansion of its terminal building and runway as well as other facilities, due to limited land area and its current location, which is surrounded by privately owned land and its proximity to Kota Kinabalu city centre.
“On top of that, the proximity can be one of the risk factors for delayed development of the city centre due to the regulations and restrictions set by having an airport nearby.
“A relocation of KKIA to Kimanis, on the other hand, could result in the airport having more than one terminal building and runway. Sabah will then be able to leverage its geographically central location in Southeast Asia to explore becoming an air travel hub within the East Asian region. The possibilities are there,” Ahmad Rizal said.
The MoU covers the relocation of KKIA involving the construction and development of a new international airport in Kimanis as well as a sustainable development plan to be undertaken within Kimanis or on any other land deemed suitable by the Sabah State Government.
A special purpose vehicle will undertake the proposed project upon completion of a detailed technical and financial feasibility study, strategic business plan and financial modelling proposal to be agreed by both parties.