GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has urged the federal government to expand Penang International Airport before going ahead with plans for an international airport in Kulim.
He said the Penang state government and business community had been “watching very closely” the plan to build the Kulim airport using private funds, and were waiting for more technical details on the project.
“We want our expansion first. The federal government should prioritise it over the Kulim airport proposal,” Chow said at a press conference at Komtar after meeting with officials from the Penang Chinese Chambers of Commerce who expressed their concerns over the Kulim project.
Putrajaya has given Kedah the go-ahead to build the airport, which would be privately funded at a cost of RM1.6 billion.
Chow said although PIA’s expansion was confirmed, the federal government had yet to decide if it wanted to increase the capacity to 12 million passengers or 16 million a year.
He said that while a study was being carried out based on 12 million passengers, the capacity could “easily be increased” to 16 million.
The airport’s current capacity is 6.5 million although it is coping with close to 8 million.
Separately, Chow said the state government was eager to see the Penang South Reclamation – the state’s official name for the three reclaimed islands project – to be approved on April 18.
He said the date marked a meeting of the National Physical Planning Council, chaired by the prime minister, which would decide on the matter.
He said the project was of paramount importance to the state’s future development and added that “we are hoping for good news”.
The PSR will fund the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan which will see highways, railways and other modes of transportation in the state.