KKIA’s status should stay: Yong
Published on: Tuesday, December 03, 2019
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Kota Kinabalu: The proposal to relocate Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) to Papar is ill-conceived, said former Chief Minister, Datuk Yong Teck Lee (pic).

Yong, who is also SAPP President, said this is because there are ample, more cost effective and practical alternatives to ensure that KKIA is not congested in the years to come.

“For a start, more international direct flights should be allowed to Sandakan and Tawau instead of stopping over at KKIA. At the moment, many passengers flying to Tawau or Sandakan have to stop over at KKIA. “This adds to travel time and costs and to congestion at KKIA,” he said.

Yong said as a reminder, it was only in the past decade or so that Sandakan and Tawau have direct flights from Kuala Lumpur by-passing KKIA, adding that in the same way, international flights can go direct to Sandakan and Tawau. 

“Further, there is this old proposal from 20 years ago to build the Labuan Bridge which would immediately connect the under-utilised Labuan international-standard airport to mainland Sabah. Labuan airport was planned to be an Asean international hub.

“A Labuan international airport, connected to mainland Sabah via a bridge, will boost the economy of the entire Southern region of Sabah and Labuan too,” he said.

Yong said together with Brunei’s Temburong bridge and Sarawak’s Pan Borneo Highway, the Labuan bridge and international airport will combine together to turn the Southern Sabah/Brunei/Northern Sarawak region into a region of economic growth.

“If, on the other hand, the KKIA were moved to Papar, the major part of the population in Greater Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran and so on will be greatly inconvenienced by losing its airport.

“With this government’s mysterious plan to also relocate the Lok Kawi army camp to the East Coast of Sabah (as announced by the government before), then Kota Kinabalu City will also lose its army base and its only airport.

“The question then is, what will happen to the land vacated by the Lok Kawi army camp and the KK International Airport?, he asked.


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