Sarawak DAP chief backs GPS minister on need for Kuching airport upgrade

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, April 19 — Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen today said he will liaise with the federal Transport Minister Anthony Loke on state Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah’s request for urgent upgrades to the Kuching International Airport (KIA).

He said he fully agrees with Karim that KIA needs a major upgrade of the facilities to be at par, if not better, with all other international airports in the country.

Chong, who is also DAP’s Stampin member of parliament, said airports are the faces of any tourist destination and the first impression given to any tourist visiting a destination in the country.

“As Sarawak shall be hosting many major and international events in the next few months, it is of utmost urgency that the facilities at KIA need to be upgraded so as to give a good first impression to the tourists and visitors coming to Sarawak,” he said when responding to Karim’s comments on KIA two days ago.

“Besides, given the rapid growth in tourist arrivals, it is also timely that the KIA needs to be extended to cater for the expected increase in our tourist arrivals,” he said.

He noted that the last time KIA had a major extension and upgrading work was carried out 20 years ago in 2003.

He said since then, the tourist arrivals have increased manifold and thus it is justifiable a second major extension and upgrading be carried out on KIA.

“In addition to the upgrading of the existing facilities, I will urge the federal ministry for the allocation of capital expenditure for the extension of the airport,” he said, expressing hope that the ministry will prioritise the upgrading works and extension project of the airport.

At a press conference on April 17, Karim, expressing his disappointment, complained that KIA should have quality facilities such as good toilets, check-in counters and baggage check-out because it also accepts international arrivals.

He had hoped that the operator of airports in the country Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) should not just focus on Kuala Lumpur International Airport as KIA is also an international airport.

He admitted that the facilities at KIA were below expectation, such as in terms of the toilets and the services to the passengers.