KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim never said the government had pulled the plug on the Kedah government’s plan to build a new airport in Kulim, said transport minister Loke Siew Fook.
Loke said there was nothing to cancel as there were no proposals submitted to the transport ministry about the matter.
“The finance minister (Anwar) never said it was cancelled. Because you can’t cancel something that never existed in the first place,” Loke told the Dewan Rakyat.
Loke was responding to Azman Nasrudin’s (PN-Padang Serai) query on the status of the Kulim airport project.
Azman asked Loke how Anwar could “cancel” the project in his Budget 2023 speech if Loke had previously said the government had not received any formal application for the airport to be developed.
Azman was referring to Anwar’s Budget 2023 speech last month where the prime minister said the government would expand the Penang and Subang airports as it would involve lower costs compared to building an airport in Kulim.
“The expansion proposal that will be led by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd is expected to benefit economic growth at a much lower cost than the proposal to build a new airport in Kulim which is estimated at RM7 billion,” Anwar said in his Budget 2023 speech on Feb 24.
Loke had previously said that the Kulim airport was “mere small-talk” and was never officially proposed to the government.
He repeated this today, adding that Kedah was welcomed to bring investors and interested parties eager to build the airport to the transport ministry for discussions.
Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor previously defended the project by saying it would be fully funded by the private sector, adding that it would not burden Putrajaya financially.