GEORGE TOWN: The government has to resolve the issue of equity and operation of airports throughout the country if it wants to implement a private finance initiative (PFI) for funding airport projects, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic).
He said if a project was funded by the private sector through an PFI, the private company concerned would want to operate the airport in order to get the returns.
“The airport is now under the concession of airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).
“How do you give the returns back to a PFI if you don’t surrender the operation of the airport to the PFI company?
“This issue has to be resolved,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
Earlier, he opened the Siemens Digital Industries Software Office and launched its Technical Competency Hub in Bayan Lepas near here.
Chow said this when commenting on the North Corridor Implementation Authority’s (NCIA) 21st Council Meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya and which he attended on Thursday.
Chow said this issue also hindered the progress of Penang International Airport’s (PIA) expansion because the issue has not been resolved yet.
He said that in principle, the upgrading and expansion project for PIA has been approved but the plan has not yet been submitted to the Penang Island City Council in order for expansion work to start.
Earlier, in his speech, Chow said he was delighted that Siemens had chosen to deepen its roots in the state.
“I was told by the company that Penang was chosen for its expansion due to the availability of talents that are equipped with both technical and language skills, as well as notably our economic and political stability.
“Penang is no doubt one of the key manufacturing hubs in the region and the state has been attracting high quality investments over the past decades,” he said.
He said Penang houses about 350 multinational corporations and the state has a strong base of more than 3,000 manufacturing-related small and medium enterprises, forming a robust ecosystem that becomes its competitive edge. — Bernama
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