PASIR SALAK: The upgrading of the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh may be one of the projects included in the 12th Malaysia Plan.
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said it was one of the issues that was discussed during an engagement session with the Perak government at the state secretariat building in Ipoh on Monday (July 22).
"The airport has reached its maximum capacity and it needs to be upgraded if Perak wants to attract more investors," he told reporters after attending a programme with Felcra members here.
He added that the connectivity aspect, including highways and Internet speed, was important and are matter investors looked for when investing in any location.
"Perak is an important state that contributes to the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
"Thus, it needs support to develop its infrastructures so the state won't be lacking the capacity to welcome investors," he added.
It was reported that the state was looking to upgrade the airport, which includes the extension of the runway from the current 2km to 2.4km.
Other new facilities discussed included an airway bridge, control tower, and fuelling and cargo facilities.
Azmin also said RM2mil has been allocated to the state to start a study on how to implement the duty-free project in Pangkor.
"It was announced this morning. The study is to know what sort of infrastructure needed for the project," he said.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had last year said that Pangkor would be accorded duty-free status to realise its tourism potential.
On an unrelated matter, Azmin said stakeholders in the agricultural sector should focus on planting cash crops, rather than rubber, palm oil and padi.
He said cash crops like pineapple could guarantee quicker returns compared with commodities like rubber and palm oil.
Azmin also said that Malaysia was blessed with good weather, the lack of natural disasters and fertile land, adding that it should also focus on increasing its productivity to ensure food security.
"The government is spending about RM60bil annually to import food, including vegetables like chillies, cabbage and ginger.
"If China can do it to support its population, why can't we?" he said.
"The government will try to assist the farmers by introducing new technology to help with its food production," Azmin added.