ALOR SETAR: Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor has asked whether the expansion plans for the Subang and Penang airports were approved in accordance with guidelines under the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP).
The NASP requires plans for new airports and expansion proposals to be put on hold pending a study.
“When the prime minister announced in the budget that the Penang and Subang airports would be expanded, did he refer to the NASP?” Sanusi asked in a statement.
Sanusi also disputed transport minister Loke Siew Fook’s claim that the Kulim airport was never officially proposed to the ministry.
Yesterday, Loke said the government never pulled the plug on the Kedah government’s plan to build a new airport in Kulim as there was nothing to cancel.
Loke said there were no proposals submitted to the transport ministry on the matter.
Sanusi said this was untrue as the government, via the transport ministry and the National Physical Planning Council (MPFN), had given the green light for the Kulim airport project.
“An engagement session was also held with then transport minister Wee Ka Siong on Aug 21, 2020, and approval was given for the project.
“We then obtained MPFN’s approval, with eight advisories issued for final approval. More than 10 technical agencies also gave their support,” he said.
Sanusi said Kedah had started the process to acquire land not just for the airport, but the overall Kedah Aerotropolis project, a mixed development which featured the airport at its centre.
“I have twice told Loke that Kedah is keen to present this project to his office. The first time was during a Lima event on Jan 16, and the other during the menteri besar and chief minister’s conference in Parliament on Feb 22,” he said.
Sanusi said when the new government took over, the Kedah state secretary had written to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim for a meeting to present the airport plan but did not receive a reply.
“The Kedah sultan also told me that he had told the prime minister about the need for the project to be hastened when they met in Kuala Lumpur. Anwar had replied that the federal government had no financial ability to do so.
“There is no need for federal funds as this will be funded through private financing. I believe if Anwar and Loke knew which company was selected, they would be excited about it,” he said.