Minister: Kulim airport only approved in principle


PUTRAJAYA: The Kulim International Airport (KXP) project has only been approved “in principle” and is still subject to studies on its viability, says Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

Dr Wee said the approval-in-principle was subject to further consideration by the ministry and other government agencies, including, among others, the Finance Ministry, the Home Ministry, the Department of Environment, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

“The National Physical Planning Council (NPPC), chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Oct 27, merely approved in principle the proposal for the development project of KXP.

“The proposal for KXP is also subject to the findings of the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP), which will commence in early 2021 for all 42 existing airports in the country and those in the proposal stage.

“The KXP project owner will then be requested to provide pertinent information to the NASP consultants on realistic and accurate projections, especially pertaining to passenger and cargo service demands, and airlines that have committed to KXP, particularly during the post-Covid-19 era.

“Final approval for the KXP development proposal will only be considered at the conclusion of the NASP study and in compliance with all pre-conditions set forth by the agencies involved, which are noted in technical reports such as the Environmental Impact Assessments, Social Impact Assessments, Traffic Impact Assessments, among others, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

Dr Wee said while the ministry welcomed proposals from both state governments and the private sector to build airports, it was duty bound to ensure that the projects were viable and sustainable as well as that they fulfilled all the technical requirements set by CAAM and the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom).

The basis for the KXP development project, he said, was to complement the passenger and cargo handling provided by the Penang International Airport (PEN).

“It is prudent to review the proposed development of KXP at a time when PEN is nearing maximum handling capacity.

“The passenger and cargo demands must be based on robust and reliable facts and data which takes into account PEN’s maximum capacity and the viability of the KXP project, ” said Dr Wee.

He was responding to a statement by Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor that the construction for KXP had been officially approved during the NPPC meeting chaired by Muhyiddin.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow then said that the KXP project had only been tabled to the NPPC for advice, adding that the Transport Ministry had stated that there would not be any consideration until the NASP study was completed.

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