By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 4: The Federal Ministry of Transport (MOT) has approved the Sarawak government’s proposals for the upgrading of Lawas STOLport as well as the construction of the short take-off and landing air strips in Betong and Kapit.
Federal Minister Dato Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong emphasised that the government has no objection or obstruction for the State government to implement the upgrading of transport facilities and infrastructure that will benefit the people of Sarawak given the rapid development ongoing in the State.
“The Sarawak MOT has raised these initiatives with my Ministry as well as other feedback including the operation of STOLports and the need to upgrade the rural air service in Sarawak.
“Rest assured that all suggestions and inputs will be given due attention and continuous action will be taken. We will do our best for the betterment of Sarawak,” he assured when addressing the launch of the new Mukah Airport by Prime Minister Dato Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg in Mukah today.
To ensure the long-term development of airports and STOLports in Malaysia are implemented based on the current needs by taking into account the Covid-19 impact and needs of national connectivity network system, Wee pointed out that the MOT will conduct a study on National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP) which will begin end of this year and is expected to be finalised by mid-2023.
“In general, this study will help the Ministry to determine the direction of development of airports and STOLPorts in Malaysia in terms of physical infrastructure development, airspace requirements, economic and strategic studies so that the proposed development of an airport in the future, will be implemented based on the actual needs as per the findings of the study,” he explained.
Nevertheless, he said the proposed development of an airport or airfield for the purpose of providing rural air services will be continued, subject to the financial position of the country.
“The Ministry will consider the application if there is an urgent need for residents in rural areas.
“The Federal government is always committed and serious to provide the best infrastructure facilities to ensure the quality of life of Malaysian Families throughout the country can be improved,” he added.
Minister of Transport Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin, Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, Sarawak DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib were among those present. — DayakDaily