Friday, December 3

Tuaran better location for international airport

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KOTA KINABALU: As development in Sabah’s west coast is heading northwards, it is logical that a new international airport be constructed in Tuaran.

Umno Tuaran chief Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman in making the proposal, said that Tuaran also has better location for the facility.

In the past, there were talks of a new airport for the west coast and it was to be built in either Papar or Tuaran.

Abdul Rahman who made the suggestion during his speech when opening Umno Tuaran’s annual general meeting in Tamparuli today, said he will bring the matter to the attention of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

When asked by the media later about the proposal, Abdul Rahman said he is pushing for the airport to be built in Tuaran as it has better location.

“And if you look at the development of Kota Kinabalu, it is moving northwards. That is why Mangattal, Inanam, Telipok and Sepanggar now are expanding.

“The next logical question is where do you put the new airport? If there is not enough land in Tuaran, (I) suggest that it be built off shore,” he said.

The former Economic Minister said his proposal to the state government includes a way to build the airport without a lot of funding from the government.

“We can do land swap with the land in Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) which is very strategic and valuable land. So if you agree to land swap, the developer buys the land in KKIA and develop whatever they want to develop, you immediately double the size of downtown Kota Kinabalu.

“But with that money you can build a new airport at almost no cost to the state government. At the same time Sabah’s economy will move and I am going to be happy because 22 million people using the airport will pass through Tuaran,” he said.

Abdul Rahman said land swap will be the best idea for this new airport adding, “because if we wait for allocation from the federal government, chances are we may have to wait for a long, long time.”

Meanwhile Pantai Dalit assemblyma  Jasnih Daya when asked to comment on the suggestion said that he too is of the opinion that Tuaran is a better location for a new airport.

Jasnih who is also Umno Tuaran’s deputy chief, also said that it is high time to look into a bigger capacity airport to accommodate now and future needs of travellers to and from Sabah.

“A new airport will provide downstream economic activities and job opportunities for locals in Tuaran and also promote the district as a tourism hub as well as boost the economy of the locals towards a higher standard of living,” the assistant Finance Minister said.