ARAU (June 26): The government does not reject outright a third airport for Kedah in Kulim, as proposed by Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, says Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The International Trade and Industry Minister said that because an airport would catalyse development in surrounding areas, the government is giving serious thought to Mukriz’s proposal.

An airport would also complete the investment ecosystem with more freight sent by air now, he said, adding that the government is looking at the potential spin-off benefits to development in southern Kedah and Perak, as well as its impact on the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.

“The government is not saying yes or no to the idea, but we need to study it in greater detail,” Mustapa told reporters, after meeting Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) students, senior officials and Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kamarudin Hussin, at its main campus in Pauh Putra, here today.

Mustapa said that Mukhriz had briefed him the rationale for the airport, when they met in Alor Setar earlier in the morning.

“When the Subang airport could not handle the demand, we built KLIA and KLIA2. Now, Subang is busy again, after being affected by the presence of KLIA. This is an example,” he added.

In another development, Mustapa said that his ministry and the Finance Ministry are studying the possibility of introducing different investment incentives, from those offered in the five existing regional economic corridors.

These incentives would balance development in urban and rural areas and attract new investments to the corridors, as well as reduce rural-urban migration, he said.

On Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s announcement yesterday of Datuk Lee Chee Leong’s appointment as his deputy, Mustapa said that he is in great need of a deputy, to help his efforts to woo more foreign investments into the country, creating more jobs.

“I want to congratulate the MCA Vice President; there’s a lot of work in store. But although he is from MCA, he is actually serving all Malaysians,” he said.

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