SANDAKAN: The government has allocated RM80 million for the Sandakan Airport runway extension project which will get underway by the middle of this year, said Najib Razak.
The prime minister said the decision to extend the airport’s runway was not scheduled in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said it was made based on his meeting with tourism industry players in this district during his walkabout at Harbour Square Sandakan on March 3.
“They asked for the runway to be extended to enable bigger aircraft to land, particularly for direct flights from China, South Korea, Japan and other major cities.
“I immediately contacted the transport minister (Liow Tiong Lai) and approved this project,” he said when launching the project at the Sandakan Airport.
The upgrading work involves extending the runway from 2,134 metres to 2,500 metres.
Najib said the contractor who upgraded the Sandakan Airport terminal would undertake the project to extend the runway.
The prime minister described the project as important in boosting the tourism sector in the district, thus uplifting the people’s economy.
He said the presence of more tourists would increase the number of people staying in hotels in this district as well as nearby areas and promote eco-tourism.
Najib said the project was in line with his commitment to ensure Sabah progresses like the other states in Peninsular Malaysia.
He said Sabah held big potential and what the state needed was infrastructure development for its people.
The prime minister also urged the people, especially in the state, to continue supporting the government so as to ensure continuity in efforts to develop the nation.
As such, he said, the people should not be duped by the lies of the opposition parties who want to instigate and confuse them.