Special emphasis has been placed on the aviation industry in Budget 2014 as Putrajaya aims to transform Malaysia into a regional aviation hub.
“Malaysia has the potential to be an aviation hub in the region. The industry will have a multiplier effect on the economy, in line with growing demand for passengers and air cargo,” Najib said today when tabling the 2014 Budget at the Dewan Rakyat here.
“From January to July 2013, passenger traffic at airports nationwide rose to 43.9 million from 38.6 million passengers during the same period in 2012,” he added.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, disclosed that total air cargo handled increased to 529,000 tonnes in the first seven months of 2013.
“When KLIA 2 is operational, passenger traffic is expected to increase to more than 70 million,” he said.
“To further develop the industry, the government will formulate a National Aviation Policy, which will outline measures to strengthen the ecosystem and services network in the aviation industry,” he added.
Najib further announced that the government was set to replace the existing air traffic control management system in Subang in a move to improve operations management and air traffic control.
“A new air traffic management centre costing RM700 million will be built at KLIA,” he said.
“The new system will facilitate the increase in air traffic from 68 to 108 movements per hour on three runways.
“This will be among the highest air traffic handling capacity in the world,” he added.
Additionally, the government vowed to upgrade several airports such as those in Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan in Sabah as well as Miri, Sibu and Mukah in Sarawak.
“For this, the government will allocate RM312 million and in addition, the passenger terminals at Langkawi International Airport and Kuantan Airport will be upgraded,” he said.
Promoting tourism sector
Najib also said the tourism sector was expected to generate a revenue of RM65 billion by end of this year and anticipated to contribute further.
“In view of the encouraging performance, 2014 has been declared Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) with a target of 28 million tourists arrivals,” he announced.
“To implement the VMY programmes, the government will allocate RM1.2 billion for this and next year’s operational and development expenses, which would include promotional efforts and advertising,” he added.
Najib also declared 2015 as the Year of Festivals, as part of Putrajaya’s continuing efforts to attract more tourists.
“In this regard, we will organise and showcase a variety of cultural programmes and festivals in the country,” he said, adding that CNN Travel 2013 ranked Kuala Lumpur as the world’s fourth most popular shopping destination.
“To further promote the tourism industry, RM2 billion has been allocated for Bank Pembangunan Malaysia’s Special Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which will be used to finance the cost of building infrastructure such as hotels, resorts and theme parks as well as the purchase and replacement of equipment related to the tourism sector.”