Bebuling and Bukit Mabong STOLports concrete proof of GPS’ good intentions, says Uggah

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

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KUCHING, Nov 14: The construction of the Bebuling STOLport (Short Take-off and Landing Airport) in Bebuling, Spaoh, Betong and Bukit Mabong STOLport in Tunoh, Kapit is proof that the Sarawak government is serious in honouring their pledges.

Responding to a social media post by a special officer to the federal Works Ministry and others that the STOLports are nothing but fake news, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah opined it is par for the course for this particular officer to create fake news to discredit the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government and its ministers.

“He rely on lies and fabrications to draw the people’s attention. He even said the Bebuling STOLport will not see the light of the day due to federal approval and funding issues. The truth will always prevail but sadly, he seems oblivious,” Uggah disclosed in a statement.

Adding that he is happy to note that the construction of both STOLports are on track, Uggah said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing had disclosed that the projects are scheduled to be tender out in the first quarter of 2020.

Masing, who is also the Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development made the announcement in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.

He said Bebuling STOLport is estimated to cost RM108.3 million while Bukit Mabong STOLport is estimated at RM193.1 million. Both projects were funded by the Sarawak government and are currently at the design stage.

The Bebuling STOLport feasibility study was done in November last year and completed in April this year. It was approved by the State Planning Unit.

“Air connectivity is important as it would facilitate trade as well as increase accessibility to domestic and international markets,” Masing said, adding that besides the two STOLports, the state government had also approved the construction of the new Lawas Airport costing RM480 million.

Elaborating further on the Bebuling STOLport, Uggah who is also the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development said Spaoh in Betong and Sungai Tunoh in Kapit are two new important agropolitan areas.

“They will need airstrips with dedicated air freight services to connect them to bigger airports to transport farm products and for tourism. We are preparing them to be the net exporter of food and food products by 2030, as envisaged by the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg,” Uggah revealed.

The STOLports are scheduled to be completed within three years.

“When complete, they will cater to Cessna 208 (Caravan) and Twin Otters aircraft. We are also optimistic they will meet the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) criteria to be recognised as new Rural Air Service (RAS) routes for passengers.”

Meanwhile, Uggah added that the federally funded new RM495.3 million-Mukah Airport is now 60.8 per cent completed.

It is expected to be ready by September 2020. — DayakDaily