EPU to study feasibility of proposed Kulim Int’l Airport

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KULIM: The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) will conduct a feasibility study on the proposed Kulim International Airport (KIA), said Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

“We had a presentation for the National Economic Advisory Council on Sept 8 that was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. The conclusion of the meeting is that a full feasibility study would be conducted by EPU.

“We are hoping it will be done soon [so we can] proceed with the next step. I sensed that there were more positive indications than negative [towards the KIA,” Mukhriz told reporters here after the groundbreaking of an optical facility for intraocular lens maker Abbott Manufacturing Malaysia Sdn Bhd at the Kulim Hi-Tech Park (KHTP).

Mukhriz said he agrees with the federal government that a feasibility study was prudent because it was a large project and hence would have to be dealt with appropriately.

Should the airport, together with a 40km Sungai Petani-Inner Kedah Expressway (Spike) linking Bandar Baru in south Kedah and north Sungai Petani, take off, the state’s investment would get a big boost, he said.

He said the present RM34 billion foreign direct investment from the 4,400-acre (1,781ha) KHTP to the country would also increase if the two-runway KIA, to be located about 20 minutes from the 18-year-old industrial zone, is approved.

He said the current ecosystem in KHTP attracted mostly electronics and electrical businesses such as Infineon Technologies (Kulim) Sdn Bhd and Silterra Malaysia Sdn Bhd, adding that Infineon’s reinvestment contributed a large portion to Kedah’s RM4.3 billion investment in the first five months of this year.

Phase four of KHTP that involves some 406 acres of land is now being expanded and the expansion is expected to be completed by mid next month.

“We still have a bit more land in Phase three but our long-term plan is to open up more tracts of land in KHTP.

“We are engaging with several serious investors of iconic brands that want to invest here. If we are successful in building the airport and highway, the KHTP land will be very suitable for industries,” he said.

Mukhriz said he hopes that Kedah would become a fully-industrialised state in the future, adding that work on the 660-acre Medical Science City in Bandar Baru would begin next month.

It aims to attract industries specialising in medical sciences, high-end manufacturing, specialised services, as well as research and development.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 11, 2014.