Saturday, May 30, 2009

Transport Ministry Concerned Over Delay In Airport Projects

The Transport Ministry is concerned over the delay in completion of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport and Labuan Airport projects.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abd Rahim Bakri said the delay should not have happened as the projects involved public interest.

"Any project, particularly airports, the Minister and Deputy Minister are accountable. We are answerable in Parliament, not contractors. My only concern is to see this project is completed on schedule or within the stipulated time," he told reporters after a briefing by Malaysia Airport Berhad at the Labuan Airport terminal here Thursday.

The RM36 million Labuan Airport project was originally scheduled for full completion on Nov 8, 2008, but this has been extended to end of July 2009 due to internal problems concerning the main contractor and land issue.

A total of 20 houses in Kg Pantai were affected by the airport upgrading project, of which the landlords have been compensated at end of last year.

"Set aside the company's internal problem and let's focus on completion. Labuan is not a busy airport as compared to other airports. Work can still be done during night time," he said.

Rahim said the government was trying to do away with the various charges like landing and other related charges in order to encourage more airlines to come to local airports.

"We want to make our airports competitive and be able to compete with others around the world," he said.

Rahim also urged airport authorities to diversify their business activities rather than focusing only on passenger and cargo services.

"The Kuala Lumpur International Airport is a good example. It has been able to reap millions in profit through its oil palm plantation surrounding the airport runway," he said.

"Perhaps other local airports should also look into ways to get involved in downstream activities or be creative in maximising their income," he added.

Source : Bernama
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