Friday, July 18, 2008

Ipoh airport issue crops up again - The Star

Jul 18, 2008

THE long-standing issue of the defunct Sultan Azlan Shah airport in Ipoh cropped up during the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers 40th anniversary dinner.

In his speech, Perak FMM chairman Gan Tack Kong urged the state government to turn the airport into a functional one again.

“I would be failing in my duty if I do not highlight the issue of inadequate logistic facilities in Perak. It requires urgent attention.

“Without a functional airport, it will be difficult to attract investments to the state,” he said.

Gan, who spoke on behalf of some 400 businessmen at the Perak-level celebration dinner, said a recent survey revealed that 58% of people wanted the old airport upgraded, 40% preferred a new one and 2% felt that both options were not viable.

Gan also raised another pressing matter faced by manufacturers nationwide – the escalating rise of operating costs.

“Feedback from our members indicates that their energy costs had increased from a minimum 15% to a high of 130%, drastically eroding or completely wiping out their profit margins,” he said.

Gan also urged the Perak Go-vernment not to abandon the proposed gas pipeline project from Ayer Tawar to Chemor as many companies there were facing a shortage of natural gas.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Moha-mmad Nizar Jamaluddin, in his speech, acknowledged the pro-blems faced by manufacturers.

“Big corporations can afford the economic changes but it is a challenge to the small medium enterprises,’’ he said.

He added it was important to figure out a way to ensure the survival of the SMEs as they made up 80% of the state’s manufacturing entities.

On the airport, Nizar said the state was still pursuing the matter with the Transport Ministry and other authorities.

He also gave an assurance that the changes in the state’s administration would not affect the perception of foreign investors on Perak.

“In Perak, the first four months of 2008 saw a total of RM775mil investments approved, of which RM658mil were foreign investments,” he said.

He said that among the foreign projects currently at the planning and implementation levels were the water fabrication project worth RM780mil, solar in-dustry related projects in Seri Iskandar estimated at RM3.3bil and RM0.752bil and the Gulf petroleum oil refinery in Man-jung at RM16bil.

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