ALOR STAR: Government facilities including the proposed Kota Putra border township in Durian Burung, 65km north-east of here, should be initially built on a moderate scale, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
He said the buildings should not be grand or permanent.
“When the place progresses, we can do things in a more permanent way. The expenditure would also be less.
“The Government cannot afford to spend too much on the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex,” he said after being briefed on the project at the Sahara army camp in Durian Burung yesterday.
Durian Burung is the site of a new border crossing between Malaysia and Thailand. It borders Songkhla province in Thailand, with the nearest Thai town of Na Thawi located 30km away.
From Na Thawi, it is an hour's drive to Haadyai and 90 minutes to Yala.
The 1,057ha Kota Putra township is a mixed development project comprising housing, commercial, industrial, agricultural and public facility components.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia needed to expedite its part of the project as Thailand had already prepared a road link from Songkhla whereas the contract for the road on the Malaysian side had yet to be concluded.
He said the border crossing and a hinterland highway project which links Durian Burung to the East-West Highway at Kupang in Baling was aimed at developing Kedah’s interior.
He said development in Kedah was now focused on the state’s western half while its eastern half was largely undeveloped.
Dr Mahathir said an integrated agricultural industry of various crops, including fruits, would be carried out in Durian Burung to attract locals to stay on and to increase its population.
“Many among the younger generation will leave this place to look for work elsewhere if this is not done,” he added.
Dr Mahathir said a sugar factory nearby could be used to preserve fruits from the orchards through canning.
He said Malaysia might embark on a joint venture bamboo industry with Japan and hoped that Malaysia could have a “One Village, One Industry” scheme using bamboo as raw material.
Dr Mahathir, accompanied by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain, earlier visited the Chebar Besar Forest Reserve in Sik district by helicopter to survey the bamboo forests there.
He later visited the Kuala Kedah Marina Harbour project near here where there is a castle-like clubhouse.
The RM26mil marina has berthing facilities for 44 yachts and sailing boats of up to 30m in length.
The developer hopes to complete the project next month.
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