Kedah seeks federal help with new RM5 bil Kulim airport

Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed at the MB’s office in Wisma Darul Aman, Alor Setar, today. (Warta Kedah/MB’s office pic)

ALOR SETAR: Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor today hoped Putrajaya will help fund a RM5 billion international airport in Kulim to boost the state’s economy in the long run.

He also hoped the federal government would help build associated mixed development projects next to the airport.

“The Kedah Aerotropolis in Sidam Kiri, including the airport, and the Sidam Logistics Aerospace and Manufacturing Hub, is what the state needs to push our economy to greater heights,” he said.

Sanusi said this in a meeting with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed at Wisma Darul Aman here today, where the MB revealed Kedah’s wishlist for Putrajaya’s attention.

“I hope you (Mustapa) are not overwhelmed by our demands. In the post-Covid-19 era, we want to bring our economic growth onto the right track,” he said.

Besides the airport, Sanusi also asked for funding for the Kedah Science & Technology Park at the Thai border in Bukit Kayu Hitam.

He said Chinese investors had initially wanted to invest in the project but pulled out.

Sanusi hoped that RM168.8 million earlier allocated by Putrajaya for the park could be increased to make the project a reality.

He also hoped that a proposed RM1.8 billion highway bypassing the North-South Expressway, from Bandar Baharu to Sungai Petani, will be built.

He said projects such as the Kulim International Airport and business parks, among others, would benefit the state immensely.

Sanusi also requested funding for an “Islamic Excellence Centre” at Suka Menanti, in Alor Setar, comprising an Islamic convention centre and more buildings related to Islamic administration, education and judiciary to be built in the state.

Other requests include a water transfer scheme worth RM101.8 million in Jeniang to benefit 18,000 padi farmers; 13 road expansion projects; a Technical Science Mahad Tahfiz in Sik worth RM25 million; the expansion of the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (RM324 million); the Sungai Batu information centre and gallery (RM29 million); Kuala Kedah tourism project (RM15 million); and Pekan Cina development and river cruise (RM96.8 million).

Later, Mustapa said the federal government would consider building the airport and other related projects requested by the state under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

He said the airport alone would cost a total of RM5 billion to build, including RM2.5 billion in land acquisition costs.

“Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we will have to look for alternative financing, such as privatising projects or getting loans.”

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