GEORGE TOWN: Both the Penang government and the Transport Ministry say they are unaware of any plan by private companies to provide alternatives to the proposed Kulim International Airport (KXP) with a new airport on mainland Penang.
In an exclusive report on Monday, The Star said two companies had separately come up with airport proposals in south Seberang Prai, and their recommended sites were less than 10km from each other.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he had no knowledge of this but stated that the state welcomed any proposal to develop a new airport.
However, he stressed that "any new airport proposal must not jeopardise the role and function of Penang International Airport (PIA) and the future development of the state".
Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry said in a statement on Monday (June 10) that it had never been informed of the airport proposals nor was it involved in any discussion about them.
"The power to set up or manage an aerodrome or to allow any company to do so is a power allotted to the Transport Minister under the Civil Aviation Act 1963.
"The ministry urges the media to confirm with the ministry before reporting such plans.
"The ministry is now planning to upgrade PIA in Bayan Lepas," the statement read.
In the Star article, one company reportedly proposed to build the North Malaysian International Airport (NMIA) on what is a vast tract of padi fields near the Kedah-Penang-Perak border. It offered to do so in exchange for rights to develop the land that PIA is now on.
It is learned that NMIA idea was presented to certain leaders at the federal level.
Another company's proposal is to build what it called the Northern Region International Airport (NORIA) by reclaiming 5,000ha of land off the coast of south Seberang Prai between the second Penang bridge and the Penang-Perak border.
The NORIA project would include the creation of the largest industrial fisheries port in Peninsular Malaysia, a high-tech sea aquaculture zone and a mega electronics manufacturing park.
These private sector proposals came in the wake of the Federal Government's approval of the RM1.6bil KXP as a private financing initiative.
It was earlier reported that a company to develop KXP would be picked via open tender.