Sunday 14 Jul 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 11): The government has granted approval for an allocation of RM93 million to facilitate land acquisition and infrastructure development for the expansion of the Penang International Airport (PIA), according to Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

Loke said that this allocation falls under the framework of Rolling Plan 3 (RP3) of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP). It specifically focuses on land acquisition, including compensation payments and the replacement of government quarters, as well as infrastructure development.

"The ministry is actively engaged in carrying out the necessary land acquisition activities to support the PIA expansion project," Loke stated in a written parliamentary reply addressed to Batu Kawan MP Chow Kon Yeow (PH-Batu Kawan).

Loke also said that Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is currently in the process of evaluating the essential capital and financial resources required for executing the PIA expansion project.

"MAHB will determine the project's cost, secure funding sources, and define the investment mechanisms before presenting them to the government for consideration," he added.

According to Loke, the anticipated project is scheduled to commence in September 2024, with an estimated project duration of 48 months for completion. This expansion aims to increase the terminal's annual handling capacity from 6.5 million passengers to 12 million passengers annually.

In February, during the presentation of the revised Budget 2023, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the government's intention to upgrade Penang and Subang airports as part of efforts to attract more international investment and tourists to the country.

He said the expansion of the two airports, which is spearheaded by MAHB, is expected to promote economic growth at a cost that is far lower when compared to the proposal to spend RM7 billion on building a new airport in Kulim, Kedah.

KK Airport expansion under consideration

Responding to a separate question from Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Loke disclosed that MAHB has long-term plans to expand the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to accommodate an anticipated increase in passenger numbers, from nine to 15.4 million annually.

Loke added that the Transport Ministry will initiate the land acquisition process in the airport's vicinity, with this process being considered under RP5 of the 12MP.

Loke also said that the ministry has included the Tawau Airport upgrading project under RP4 of the 12MP for the Ministry of Economy's consideration. This proposed project involves expanding the terminal capacity from 1.5 million passengers to 2.5 million annually, ensuring that the airport can effectively meet the needs of travellers.

However, he said the ministry has no plans to upgrade the Sandakan Airport in near future, considering the existing capacity and recent upgrades.

"The Sandakan Airport, designed with a terminal capacity of 1.4 million annually, aligns with MAHB's projections, suggesting that it will suffice until after 2027," Loke stated.

It's noteworthy that the project to upgrade the Sandakan Airport was completed in 2022, including the extension of the runway, expansion of the aircraft parking area, relocation of various systems and construction of new infrastructure.

For more Parliament stories, click here.

Edited ByKamarul Azhar Azmi
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