TTF: Following severe criticism that the planned Kulim International Airport is not needed, a waste of public funds and a potential white elephant (given its 46-km proximity to the Penang International Airport), Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali announced that the project would be fully funded by the private sector given the government’s lack of funds.
In the first place, can the Economic Affairs Minister shed some light on prospects of getting a private entity to fund a project that any sane-minded developer can tell you is destined to be a white elephant and isn’t likely to generate a Return of Investment (RoI)?
In the second place, can Azmin clarify if the airport will be federal owned, state owned or if it will end up being owned by the company that’s going to develop it?
KUALA LUMPUR: The Kulim International Airport (KXP) mega project will be fully funded by the private sector, as the government is severely lacking in funds for infrastructure development.
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the state of the economy had necessitated a more prominent participation from private quarters.
Mohamed Azmin was responding to a question on the project which is estimated to cost RM1.6 billion.
It was reported on Tuesday that KXP would be funded through a private finance initiative.
“That is the amount allocated to develop the airport, but the initiatives are by private entities.
“The government does not have the money for (infrastructure) development.
“But that (KXP) development is a necessity, so the participation of private entities is very much needed for a crucial development.
“It (KXP) is 100 per cent (carried out by) private (entities),” Mohamed Azmin said when met at the Parliament lobby, here, today.
KXP is one of the seven mega projects announced for Kedah recently, apart from a manufacturing industries and logistics hub in Sidam near Kulim; two phases of the Northern Corridor highway project over a 70-km stretch; a digital library in Alor Setar; a petrochemical industrial park in Gurun and the Kasih Ibu Darul Aman (KIDA) programme.
All of the projects cost more than RM3 billion, as part of an effort to draw foreign investments into the state.
On Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s call for a feasibility study to assess the necessity of the KXP project, Mohamed Azmin assured that it had already been implemented.
Azmin said menteris besar from Kedah and Perak, and the Penang chief minister were also involved in the meeting.
“Well certainly it will go through such a process. It (the project and feasibility) was deliberated by in the northern corridor implementation authority council on Monday, which was chaired by the prime minister.
“All of the proposals were deliberated and presented by the secretariat… so some of the recommendations by the secretariat were approved.
“It (KXP) was also one of the projects that was agreed upon. Traffic impact assessment, social impact assessment, environmental impact assessment are common (to be carried out) with any big projects.”
Mohamed Azmin said the KXP would not adversely impact business flow into Penang but instead would compliment states in the northern region.
“I don’t think there would be any impact (to Penang).
“This is just to complement whatever facilities that we have in Penang and Alor Setar.
“Now you can see more investors coming to Malaysia but the policy of the current government is that we do not want to just place our focus in the Klang Valley, Selangor and Johor.
“We want to bring more investments to the north and also other states.
“This is part of our half-term study to balance out regional development, rural and urban,” he said