Sunday, September 26

No brakes on sibu airport expansion, says Minister


SIBU: Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said today that the government had not put the brakes on the federal-funded Sibu Airport expansion project here despite the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s defeat in the Sibu by-election last year.

“There is no pull back, the project is still going on as scheduled,” he told reporters after inspecting Sibu Airport’s RM130 million expansion project which began in September last year.

The two-year airport expansion project involves upgrading of the Terminal building, car park and additional aerobridges and is expected to be completed in September 2012.

Kong said the Sibu airport expansion project was planned a few years ago when the late Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew was Deputy Transport Minister and Sibu MP.

Lau died on April 9, 2010, which prompted a by-election where Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng defeated BN candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew with a majority of 398 votes.

Kong said the tender was called last year with construction work starting in September last year.

“The terminal building’s capacity of 900,000 passengers per year has already been exceeded as more than a million passengers used the airport last year alone,” he said, explaining that the expansion and upgrading work would double the size of the terminal building.

“With the expansion, we can accommodate up to 1.9 million passengers annually as Sibu airport is an important airport in the central region of Sarawak with an average of 23 flights per day,” he added.

Apart from flights to all major towns in Sarawak, Sibu Airport also handles direct flights to Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.

On the progress of the airport expansion project, Kong said 25 per cent of the work had been completed, which was ahead of schedule and expressed his confidence that it could be ready ahead of schedule. – Bernama