MIRI: Upgrading of Miri Airport would bring the tourism industry in the northern region, especially Miri, into new horizon.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tabled the 2014 Budget on Friday and it was announced that Miri Airport would be among the five airports in the state and Sabah to be upgraded with a RM312 million allocation. The other airports are Sibu and Mukah Airports and Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan Airports.
Lauding the announcement, Assistant Minister of Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin welcomes the assistance to upgrade Miri Airport.
“Miri being a resort city, it is important that we have good facilities such as the airport which is able to function efficiently to cater to the needs of our visitors and business community,” Lee said.
“We in Miri certainly need the airport to be upgraded because Miri Airport is the hub of all our rural air services. Miri has the most number of flights to the rural area, serving routes to Bario, Ba’kelalan, Marudi, Lawas, Limbang and Mukah,” Lee noted when asked during a seminar held in conjunction with the 55th anniversary of Miri Hakka Association.
In addition, Lee who is also Senadin assemblyman, said there was a need for the airport to have separate terminals catering to domestic and international and rural air services. This includes separate check-in counters and the departure and arrival lounges.
Lee also hopes for the terminal building to be extended and have more direct flights.
“We have a geographical advantage similar to Kota Kinabalu as the routes are shorter to Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong,” Lee added, hoping that the government would consider making Miri as another gateway into Sarawak.
He said instead of going to Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur, travellers could save time and cost if Miri is opened up to these destinations.
On the budget as a whole, Lee said it caters to the needs various strata of the society in the country and was a progressive budget.
“It looks into the economic growth of the country and ensures our country’s economy continue to be resilient which is important. Basically, in any budget, the most important thing is to ensure the country’s economy will be stable and continues to grow but at the same time the budget has to meet the needs and expectations of the people,” he stressed.
Pointing out that budget meets these two aspects, Lee said the budget looked into the welfare and well-being of the people especially the low-income group.