Monday 25 Sep 2023
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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on June 12, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) welcomes Berjaya Corp Bhd founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun’s idea of financing the development to expand Tioman Island’s airport.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with the Council of Eminent Persons yesterday, MAHB managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali said Tioman Island’s airport main issue is not being able to expand its runway to accommodate bigger aircraft without environmental implications.

“The government has looked into it many times. The issue on Tioman Island is to get a suitable [piece of] land for bigger aircraft landing, [but] there is no suitable place for this, except if we actually extend into the sea and that requires land reclamation, which is going to impact the environment, so it is not going to pass the Environmental Impact Assessment,” he said.

Nevertheless, Badlisham said he welcomes Tan’s idea of financing the development on behalf of the federal government if the latter finds a way to overcome the island’s environment limitations.

“I welcome it. Maybe an entrepreneur can be more creative, especially when you need to land a bigger aircraft on Tioman Island. In the past, aircraft that land on Tioman were the smaller ones, fetching about six passengers, so it was not worthwhile. I think he wants a slightly bigger airport, which can cope with the type of aircraft that can carry about 20 to 25 passengers — that is why it (expansion of the airport) requires a larger runway,” he said.

“As far as I know, because of the hills, the only space that we can extend, based on the study by the government before this, is to extend towards the sea,” Badlisham added.

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