Friday, 29 November 2013

New airport? Bad idea!

I'm totally appalled. I could not believe my eyes reading the news items in online news portals like The Malay Mail Online and The Malaysian Insider where the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, had formally written in to the Acting Minister of Transport, Hishammuddin Hussein, asking him to approve the construction of a second runway at the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas or alternatively, build a new airport for the state.

I can fully understand the need to build a second runway if land permits it - and from what I have learnt from Guan Eng's assertions, there is land for it - because the growth from Penang's tourism industry will outgrow the full capacity of the present airport.

But to build a new airport? Huh? Better be careful there. The last time that the issue of a second airport was raised, that wily old fox, Mahathir Mohamad, had wanted to build one in Sungai Petani. It was only due to the timely(?) providence that the Asian financial crisis hit Malaysia in 1997 that Mahathir's airport plan was scuppered. If not, all of Penang's airport tourist traffic would have been diverted to Kedah by now. Where then would that leave Penang?

And with Guan Eng suddenly asking for a new airport, this is just like providing the ammunition to the Barisan Nasional regime in Putrajaya and Alor Star from reviving this project again. No doubt, a calculated risk but positively not a good idea coming from the man who is supposed to lead Penang to greater heights. He shouldn't be opening his mouth like that without consulting his people, who should know better than to advise him in this fashion.

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