Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 25.6.2014.
Teng Chang Yeow Should Answer Why He Opposes 2 Runways For An Established International Airport Like Penang When Kedah Can Seek RM 1.6 Billion To Build An Entirely New 3rd Kedah International Airport In Kulim.
Penang BN Chairman Teng Chang Yow should not try to distract attention but answer questions as to the real Penang BN position when he opposes but yet Penang UMNO supports Kedah Mentri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s proposal to build a new international airport in Kulim, Kedah. More importantly, Teng should answer the question why he opposes 2 runways for an established international airport like Penang when Kedah can seek RM 1.6 billion to build an entirely new 3rd Kedah International Airport in Kulim with 2 runways.
Mukhriz had said the RM 1.6 billon costs included land acquisition, the building of basic infrastructure of the airport and two runways. Mukhriz further said that the Penang International Airport had reached its maximum capacity in 2 years and its one runway showed limited capacity to accommodate more aircraft.
However instead of building a 2nd runway, a new integrated air cargo hub and a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul or MRO facility for Penang that costs RM600 million, BN is more intent on spending RM 1.6 billon for a completely new airport in the middle of the jungle in Kulim, Kedah. Like Teng, Mukhriz had said it was not easy for Penang airport to have a second runway as the factories were located near it, adding the suggestion of sea reclamation to extend the runway was “easier said than done”.
The Penang state government disagrees strongly with the intention of the BN Federal government to neglect and bypass Penang for Kedah. Clearly this is seen as a undemocratic and vindictive punitive action against Penang for supporting PR with the largest mandate of 68% of the popular votes in the 2013 general elections.
Instead of addressing these questions on why he opposes the 2nd airport runway for Penang and what is BN Penang’s real stand when UMNO Penang takes a contradictory position from Teng, Teng has decided to focus on irrelevant and petty issues. Penang is proud of what we had achieved in making Penang as a location of choice of investors. For the 6 year period under PR rule from 2008-2013, Penang recorded an investment of RM 40,049 million which is nearly double BN’s total 6 year figures from 2002-7 of RM 21,095 million.
And yet BN criticize the state government for any drop in investments last year but when investments go up the following year, BN claims credit instead. Let the people of Penang decide whether it is for BN to blame the state government when investment goes down but then forget to praise the state government but claim credit when investment rises. Instead, it is the 1.6 million Penangites that should claim the credit for Penang’s success as the top investment state in Malaysia.
For BN to question falling investor confidence in Penang is at best ignorant and at worst a pretence of being unaware that Temasek Holdings had just signed a joint-venture agreement to develop a High Technology Industrial Park valued at RM11.3 billion for the manufacturing and services sector. BN should drop all pretence and concede that PR performed much better during our 6 years in power with RM40,049 million in investments as compared to the BN’s previous 6 years of RM 21,095 million.
I have no interest in Teng;s tactics of politicizing investment figures by even questioning the answers provided by the Prime Minsiter Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliament. The Penang state government has received little to no cooperation from federal government agencies. There is even no replies to our formal letters on many issues. For this reason, we are forced to rely on parliamentary questions. Unfortunately even Parliamentary questions sometimes elicit very little information.
For this reason, when viewed within the context of Penang operating practically on our own, Penang’s achievement as the top investment location in Malaysia is more remarkable. The challenges for Penang will only increase with Kedah now openly using its political connections with the Federal government to undermine Penang’s competitiveness.
Even though Kedah is not in the picture at all nationally or regionally in terms of investments, Penang is not afraid of competing with another new international airport in Kulim, but on a level playing field by giving us an additional runway, integrated air cargo facility and MRO hub. The question is whether Teng and UMNO Penang will support Penang’s International Airport upgrade expansion proposals with deeds rather than empty words to compete fairly with the proposed new international airport in Kulim.
LIM GUAN ENG
-- CN Version --