KXP gets mixed reactions

GEORGE TOWN: The Kulim International Airport (KXP) project with two proposed runways has received mixed reactions from the business community.

It would benefit business associations from both Penang and Kedah, said Kedah Chinese Assembly Hall president Datuk Cheng Lai Hock.

“Having an international airport in Kedah is definitely good news for us. However, the Federal Government should carry out a study to check the practicality and effects of building the KXP.

“We do not want this to end up as a white elephant,” he said.

The Star reported yesterday that the KXP would have two runways on a 17sq km site at the Kedah border with Penang.

It is learnt that the project is expected to generate RM3.8bil in private investments to the vicinity and create up to 18,000 jobs.

Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang questioned the necessity for an airport with two runways in Kedah.

“Did the government carry out a feasibility study on the need of having an airport?” asked FMM branch chairman Datuk Dr Ooi Eng Hock.

He said the Federal Government should look at expanding Penang International Airport (PIA), which handled 7.8 million passengers last year, exceeding its 6.5 million in capacity.

“We believe in two years time, it will receive 8.5 million passengers, which is beyond the airport’s capacity,” he said.

He said FMM members and other stakeholders had often complained about their investors and clients being held up at the airport.

“There are only two lines at the arrival hall. Usually, our clients have to spend at least 30 minutes at Customs,” he said yesterday.

Ooi said the Federal Government should do a study on the benefits and investment opportunities of expanding PIA.

Airports, he said, are an investor’s first encounter upon arriving at a country.

“Then they will look at the conveniences of the city, standard of living and lifestyle, among others, when deciding if they would want to invest in the country,” he said.

“This shows that the airport plays an important role in securing investment for our country.”

Netizens have voiced their views as well about the airport project.

Facebook user Mark Goh said: “Great! I hope this new airport can create more direct flights that Penang airport cannot provide.”

Another Facebook user, Ng Cheong Keat, felt that PIA was too crowded and having a proper international airport was the way forward.

“It is time the northern part gets a proper international airport to replace the Penang airport which is severely congested,” Ng said.

However, another user Cramesh Cheleya questioned the necessity of having an airport in Kulim.

“Did the authorities do feasible studies on the return on investment of having an airport in Kulim?” he asked.

Facebook user Jonathan Ky Heng echoed a similar view, saying that the project was not a good move as the country’s economy was not stable yet.
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