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Aborted take-off

“Approval for the new low-cost carrier terminal in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, was given by all relevant parties”

TRANSPORT Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat. The KLIA [email protected] Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) project mooted by AirAsia and Sime Darby in December 2008 looked set to take off after getting the go-ahead from the cabinet on 19 Dec 2008. (Source: Approval for Nilai LCCT given by all parties, says Tee Keat, The Star, 13 Jan 2009)

But after a blitz of publicity in early January 2009, criticisms of the project began to increase, with bloggers, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, voicing opposition. Concerns about safety, cronyism and potential costs to taxpayers in the event of a government bailout were raised.

“As for the cabinet decision, we put in the proposal six months ago. It’s only now that the information has come out. It wasn’t an on-a-whim decision. The government doesn’t do things like that.”

AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes, answering critics who were suspicious about the way the project was seemingly approved by the cabinet in a rush. (Source: AirAsia’s case for its own home, New Straits Times, 12 Jan 2009)

“We are looking at it but have yet to make any decision. I cannot pre-empt the decision by making an announcement.”

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. After almost three weeks of negative publicity, and with pressure from Khazanah Nasional, Najib announced that, contrary to earlier reports, the cabinet had yet to decide on the KLIA [email protected] proposal. (Source: Najib: No Decision Yet On New LCCT In Labu, Bernama, 23 Jan 2009)

Sources, however, said the cabinet had conveyed to AirAsia that the airport proposal was as good as dead.

“The decision is final. The LCCT in Labu has been scrapped.”

Najib again, officially announcing the project’s cancellation in Phuket. The deputy premier, who is also Finance Minister, was attending the Asean +3 Finance Ministers Meeting in Thailand. Najib also said that the new LCCT would be built within the Kuala Lumpur International Airport itself by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, who would take into consideration AirAsia’s input. (Source: [email protected] off, The Star, 23 Feb 2009)

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