MoF denies receiving proposals on new airports in Penang

According to the local daily, the 2 new airport proposals will replace the existing PIA

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/BERNAMA PIC

THE Ministry of Finance (MoF) has rejected claims that it received proposals for the construction of two massive new airports in Penang.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said both the finance and transport ministries, as well as state governments of Kedah and Penang are completely in the dark in relation to a newspaper report that two companies had proposed two massive airport projects in mainland Penang valued at tens of billions of ringgit.

According to The Star, the two new airport proposals would replace the existing Penang International Airport (PIA) in Bayan Lepas and could be a threat to the proposed Kulim International Airport funded by a private financing initiative (PFI).

“So far, both Transport Minister Anthony Loke and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir told me that they know nothing about the two so-called new airport proposals.

“Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has also said the Penang state government has no knowledge of it,” Lim said in a statement, adding that approval from the Penang state government is critical when it involves land issues.

“Such baseless speculation is also grossly unfair by giving the negative impression that the federal government is riding roughshod over the state governments, or the rakyat, by considering such a massive project involving thousands of hectares (ha) of paddy land or 5,000ha of reclaimed land from the sea,” he said.

Lim said the federal government’s position on the PIA is clear, as stated in Budget 2019.

The government is expected to expand the existing PIA to a capacity of 16 million passengers yearly from the present 6.5 million passengers. The
expansion of the PIA will be conducted in two phases.

Lim said PIA’s proposed 16 million passengers yearly should be able to meet the existing PIA’s capacity of eight million passengers until 2030. There is room for further expansion in the future of PIA to 20 million passengers.

“As for the Kulim International Airport, the federal government is awaiting proposals on its construction through PFI, without requiring
any expenditure from the federal government,” he said.

In an earlier statement issued yesterday, Chow and Loke said they were unaware of the proposals.

The Star had reported that the two companies had proposed building a new airport at two locations in south Seberang Perai, Penang.

It said one firm had submitted its plan for an airport to Putrajaya, while the other would soon do the same.

One of the companies proposed acquiring thousands of hectares of rice fields for “North Malaysia International Airport”, while the other wished to name its facility the “Northern Region International Airport”.