Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Penang tapped as regional economic hub with RM250mil upgrade for Penang airport


Penang tapped as economic hub of the north

GEORGE TOWN: The Federal Government wants to make Penang the preferred economic hub in the region.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said several development projects and strategies had been designed to stimulate the economy and provide jobs.

“Ten major infrastructure projects have been identified, including the expansion of the Penang International Airport, Penang Port, upgrading of Penang Bridge, construction of the second bridge, and the creation of a Multimedia Super Corridor in Penang.

“These initiatives will not only facilitate economic activity but also support our national objective to increase tourism revenue from RM53bil last year to RM168bil by 2020.

“I believe Penang has unique advantages for it to become a hub for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) and Growth Triangle comprising Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand,” he said in his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for the airport’s RM250mil expansion project.

The project, expected to be completed by June 2012, is under the NCER blueprint launched two years ago.
Najib said Penang already had the highest economic density and the shortest distance to the market for a city in the Growth Triangle, adding that the airport’s expansion would further enhance the island’s infrastructure and transport connectivity.

He said it was also heartening to see the benefits of the Government’s stimulus package firsthand because the project would increase passenger capacity, improve facilities and strengthen security.

Funding for the project came under the RM6bil economic stimulus package, which was introduced to stave off the effects of the global financial crisis.

Najib said equipping terminals with modern public facilities and delivering high-level customer service were key to portraying a favourable image of the country to travellers.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said between January and November, the number of passengers at the aiport had increased by more than 26% to 3.7mil.

“Compared to last year, cargo traffic has risen by 12%,” he said.

Penang to become regional economic hub
Himanshu Bhatt
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

GEORGE TOWN (Dec 20, 2010): The federal government is allocating funds for Penang to help make the state a regional economic hub which would benefit the country as a whole, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said.

Citing the RM250 million upgrading project for the Penang International Airport as an example, Najib said the federal authorities were setting aside money from a "national perspective" and in line with plans to develop the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).

Najib with Malaysia Airports managing director Tan
SriBashir Ahmad (2nd from right) and Koh looking at
the model of Bayan Lepas International Airport.
"The federal government’s goal for Penang is to make it the preferred  hub in the region," he said. "Ten major infrastructure projects have been identified, including expansions of the airport, Penang Port and Penang Bridge; construction of a second bridge; and the creation of a Multimedia Super Corridor in Penang.
"These initiatives will not only facilitate economic activity, but also support our national objective to increase tourism revenue from RM53 billion in 2009 to RM168 billion by 2020," Najib said in his speech while officiating at the ground-breaking of the airport’s passenger terminal expansion here.
Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, as well as Ministers in the PM’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop.
Funding for the project came from the government’s RM6 billion economic stimulus package.
"This RM250 million investment in the airport’s expansion will increase passenger capacity, improve facilities and strengthen security," Najib said.

"It will also enhance the airport’s ambience, providing a higher comfort level to airlines and passengers alike, and offering a better selection of retail outlets," he added.

Najib noted that the stimulus package offered many benefits to the aviation sector, including two years of landing rebates for airlines to support their business recovery, restore confidence and increase the rate of air traffic into Malaysian airports.

Najib said he also anticipated the need to upgrade the airport’s cargo  terminal to serve increased industrial activity here.

He noted that the airport now handles more than 30% of Malaysia’s manufacturing exports and is the second busiest entry point for international visitors to the country.

Stressing that investing in infrastructure was a key pillar to sustaining Malaysia’s economic growth in the long term, he said: "I am confident that the airport’s upgrading will allow Penang to further develop in economic growth."