Penang govt happy with MAHB airport expansion


THE Penang state government welcomed the announcement by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) that it will be proceeding with the expansion of the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas, Penang.

Chief Minister (CM) Chow Kon Yeow, said he believes all the issues he raised before — including equity and operations of airports if the government wanted to implement a private finance initiative for funding airport projects — have been resolved.

“Now that they have made this announcement, we welcome it, and it is for the federal government and also MAHB to resolve whatever funding and concession regulations they may be looking at.

“For Penang, we are (more) concerned about early commencement and completion of the airport.

“Other issues, I think, it is best to leave it to the relevant agencies to resolve,” he told reporters after opening the Art For Peace forum yesterday.

In a statement on Tuesday, MAHB said it is in the middle of discussions with various parties on the options for investment and funding models. The airport operator said it submitted an application to fully fund the project under the proposed Malaysian Aviation Commision Regulated Asset Base framework and is awaiting approval.

Once the plans have been approved by the Penang Island City Council, MAHB added, construction will begin in the first quarter of next year.

Chow hopes that the federal government and MAHB will engage with the state government on the expansion.

“It will be good because the local council can expedite all that. I am sure they have been engaging us like MAHB has been, too.

“They presented to the (executive committee) and all that,” the CM said.

In his speech at the forum, Chow said the event played a crucial role in promoting peace and harmony in Penang by helping people from different backgrounds understand one another better.

“Sometimes, meetings and discussions don’t seem to help solve problems…thus, it is a force which has the power to unite mankind,” he said.

The CM added that art plays a role in the development of human society and the cultural system. — Bernama