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Is a new airport needed, questions Chin

KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Jan 2009: Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said that his ministry was not against any development including building a new airport, if needed.

The issue is not whether the airport can be built on palm-oil land or not, he said to reporters when asked on Sime Darby’s plan to build the permanent low cost carrier terminal (LCCT) on its land in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.

“The issue is whether we should have a new airport or not,” he said.

In any case, a company, which is going to build any airport, must get approval from the civil aviation department and carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

 “If you cannot use palm oil land for airport, you have to use other land.”

Chin was met here following his dialogue session with the Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association (MEOA) in Putrajaya today.

On whether it is advisable for the conglomerate to sacrifice oil palm trees for an airport, he said: “I cannot comment. That is its commercial decision. It just needs approval for an airport operation there from the government.

“It is not going to involve the government, if it is a private land.”

It was announced recently that the new site for the airport would need 3,000 acres of land.

Some 138 oil palm trees can be planted on an acre of land, and therefore about 414,000 trees would have to make way should the airport be built on the plantation land. 

Early this month, Sime Darby announced that it has got government approval to develop the proposed private LCCT project.

It said that the project was an integral part of its development plan for its Negeri Sembilan Vision City (NSVC).

NSVC is part of its Central Vision Valley (CVV) property development project spanning Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

Sime Darby and budget airline AirAsia Bhd had proposed to jointly develop and operate the RM1.6 billion LCCT which will be known as [email protected]

The project will be privately funded.

The RM1.6 billion is an estimate of the cost of structures and the runway but does not include the 3,000-acre piece of land where it would be constructed. — Bernama


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