Late last year, it was reported by NST December 13th, 2018 that Kedah Menteri Besar, Dato Paduka Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir announced the RM1.6 billion Kulim airport project will go ahead. It will not be just word and will resume.
In revisiting the project, Mukhriz claimed the site identified, two feasibility studies presumably done and claimed to be positive, and role will be as air cargo hub, initially.
Presumably, its close proximity to Penang and Kulim so-called high tech park makes it suitable for importers and exporter. Blah blah blah ... strategic location and keen interest by several international investors.
Interesting but first thing that came to mind when Mukhriz announced, it was him needing Kulim to show that as twice MB, he did something for the state.
On his first attempt, he blamed it on PM Dato Najib for not providing the fund. So the need for a second attempt, as talk in Kedah is Mukhriz's second time around is worse than his first time.
His couldn't-care-less attitude remained and gotten worse since his father returned as PM. The night before presenting Kedah state budget he was still seen hanging around with friends at BSC, Kuala Lumpur.
The PPBM supporters and groupies can be defensive, but what do they know?
Has MB given serious thought?
Doubt DAP Penang will be pleased.
His father maybe PM and talk is he will be moving to federal. More the reason, he should realised% thathet DAP control the federal government purse at the Ministry of Finance, which Kedah hope will fund this project.
Lim Guan Eng and Tony Pua see every new idea involving Tun Dr Mahathir, Tun Daim and family as cronyism and nepotism.
Penang side questioned the Kulim airport plan as it will infringed on their economic interest. Chief Minister Chow Koon Yew has voiced his concern and gave various bureaucratic dily daly excuses including citing need for serious evaluation. More so, DAP state government is under pressure from Gerakan.
When new government tookover and Kulim airport cropped up in media, DAP Transpost Minister, Anthny Loke said in June last year that they had not receive any proposal.
Kedah state planner said it was already presented to former Minister, Dato Seri Liow Tiong Lai in August 2017. Former Deputy Finance Minister from Kedah and former MP for Jerlun, Dato Osman Aziz did mentioned of the feasibility in April 2017.
Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce, NGO with strong link to the DAP state government, expressed their opposition. The excuse given was the close proximity of Kulim to Penang's Bayan Lepas airport and suggested going up north to Bukit Kayu Itam.
Same excuse echoed by the Penang Indian Chamber of Commerce.
Soon, DAP state government will cite BN Penang also opposed to the Kulim airport idea in June 2014.
On the other hand, there is basis for Penang airport to relocate to Batu Maung and Kulim, a Timothy Tye argued in TMI. The opposition to the idea is more Penang pride and concern for their future.
A Social Impact Assessment need be done to see it's impact on the people and community.
Though industry executives denied it is happening, MNC electronic companies are moving away from Penang as it is no more cost competitive.
In summary, the first matter in our mind was the political economic consideration.
The second was this blog's posting on March 12, 2017 of two Tan Sri involved in scam to cheat the kampong folks of their land.
The two Tan Sri had links to the former Permaisuri Agong and former Sultanah of Kedah (second wife of Almarhum Sultan Abdul Halim).
They may have pulled some string to prevent their case from being brought to court. However, it will only be temporary as the government-in-waiting will likely revive all such cases.
Nevertheless, the carrying cost of the delayed project is killing the early land scammers like the two royal-linked Tan Sri. More so, it is believed to be funded by illegal money game MBI International, which then had link to Guan Eng but has since, part ways.
MBI have been involved funding land scams not only in Penang and Kulim, but also land scams in Selangor as claimed by Chegu Bard.
A feedback received from one logistic entrepreneur of the proposed Kulim airport idea is that there is not enough land.
There are several estates that may have been identified in Kulim and one heard to be targeted is Scarborough Estate owned by then Guthrie Corporation (now Sime Darby Plantation of Sime Darby Berhad).
However, it will not be enough and heard only 800 acres could be secured. The logistic man said the orang kampong land will be sacrificed.
State government claimed the state will set-up agency to safeguard orang kampong interest but at the end of the day, it is merely to ensure payment.
The state will ensure the land cost to be kept viably low for businessmen to afford and profit for being involved in the project. As usual, they will play around with valuation method.
Orang kampong pergi mampus. It is the hallmark of Mahathir's 22 years of being overly friendly position with businessmen than the rakyat jelata, more so with the poor common folks.
The capitalist interest is more important as they could, he usually argued, bring development. Orang kampong are Melayu and like the stated words of colonial British, Mahathir has stereotyped them as malas (indolent).
Mahathir will be least concerned with the many land scams in Kulim "stealing" Malay land with middle man taking the bulk of the proceed and orang kampong left with carrying cost and only paltry 10% of its true networth.
It may not matter to Mukriz that the taukeh allegedly having interest in the airport project and friend of PPBM froggie, Dato Hamzah Zainuddin is a criminal!
Does the MB really care?
Yesterday's The Star featured the following article:
Experts move to protect Ulu Muda------------------
Monday, 25 Feb 2019
by Arnold Loh
Water source: A boat crossing the Muda Lake near Gubir in Sik, Kedah, which forms part of Ulu Muda’s vital water supply to Penang, Kedah and Perlis
ALOR SETAR: More than 100 scientists and naturalists will start documenting the extensive flora and fauna in the 162,000ha Ulu Muda Forest Reserve in an effort to push for its total protection.
This comes as timber companies put in demands for compensation from the Kedah state government for suspending logging licences.
For the next two years, scientists will arrive in teams and produce research from this forest, which is twice the size of Singapore and a crucial source of water for Penang, Kedah and Perlis.
Organised by the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), the project will see experts taking plant and fish samples, setting up motion-sensor cameras along animal trails and even analysing pharmaceutical properties of non-timber growth in the primary jungle.
MNS president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail said its volunteers would provide the scientists with the support they needed to venture into the jungle for their research.
MNS Kedah secretary Phang Fatt Khow said between RM3mil and RM5mil was needed to help the scientists reach deep into the jungle, adding that it had been raising funds for the research.
Citing an example of the extent of the research, Phang said one of the plans included taking scientists to the salt licks that lay within Ulu Muda, where elephants, tigers, tapirs, gaurs and sun bears had been spotted.
Salt is a precious nutrient for animals in the jungle.
“There will even be experts to examine the moss and lichen,” he said.
The expedition’s base camp is at the Ulu Muda Interpretation Centre near Muda Lake’s jetty in Gubir, about 40km from Sik.
State Environment and Green Technology Committee chairman Simon Ooi Tze Min, representing Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, cut the ribbon to the base camp last Sunday.
Ooi urged corporations in the northern region to support the expedition through MNS.
“Corporations in Penang which rely heavily on the water from Ulu Muda should step forward.
“This jungle belongs to us all and your contribution will help everyone in the northern region for decades to come,” he said.
The state government, said Ooi, had been exploring sustainable methods of gazetting Ulu Muda as a state park, adding that the results of the expedition would be compelling evidence to justify it.
He said that while the state did not regret revoking all logging licences in Ulu Muda, it now had to deal with timber companies making claims for compensation.
Although Ooi did not reveal the quantum of compensation demanded by the loggers, he said they had “so many ways of counting their losses, including the loss of future income”.
Last September, Mukhriz had announced the immediate revocation of all logging licences in Ulu Muda.
Applications for new licences were also suspended indefinitely.
Ooi said Kedah was now in discussions with the federal government for financial reimbursements in exchange for not tapping into Ulu Muda’s timber resource.
“As we forgo the much needed revenue from timber for the sake of ensuring that Perlis and Penang will have enough water, we will need the federal government to ensure that Kedahans will have sufficient funds for development,” he said.
It sound so rosy and MB Mukhriz so progressive.
Could not forget that Mukhriz's first order of business as BN MB was to get the state exco to approve a log concession.
Throughout GE 13 campaign for BN to recapture Kedah from PAS, excessive logging and the environmental disaster of Pedu Lake was one of the main theme of the BN campaign. Mukhriz does not care and was not sensitive to even postphone a decision for Dato Azimi Daim-lobbied concession.
Quite sceptic of Mukhriz attitude towards Ulu Muda. It will only benefit Penang and he has not shown any political will for a better water concession deal for Kedah. It was only a one statement issue, mere lip service.
Mukhriz could have done more to reap the economic benefit for the people in getting the state to protect the environment. He just lack ideas and motivation to do so. Rather spend more time in KL.
In Kulim, his new found environmental consciousness will not be used to protect the interest of local Kulim, mostly orang Melayu.
For sure, he will succumb to corporate interest or even allow Penang state government much say and equity in the Kulim airport project, if it ever took off.
Unknown to the public, the intention to still pursue Kulim Airport is suspected to be linked to the move of the TUDM base in Butterworth, Penang.
It was supposed to move to Tasek Gelugor but DAP state government resisted for fear the land would be used for housing and dilute their political position.
Former Perda Chairman, Dato Shabudin Yahya allegedly sabotage the plan as he had personal interest on the site at Tasek Gelugor.
Shabudin is the former BN MP that beat Cambridge fake degree holder, Marzuki Yahya for Tasek Gelugor seat. He has since, jump over to PPBM and Marzuki withdrew his election petition. Heard new PERDA Chairman, Hanif Khatri was to dig up on Shabudin. Will he now?
If the TUDM base moved to Kulim, and DAP leaders' beak wetted (not known to their RBA), the Kulim Airport proposal could happen.
Watch the development to unfold.