KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has expressed full support to the proposal made by Datuk Christina Liew, Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, urging the state government to consider taking over the management of Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).
Its President Tan Sri T.C Goh opines that this is necessary in order to expedite the improvement of its facilities and services to better cater to the future development of the state’s tourism industry.
He suggested the state government to establish a government-link company (GLC) to manage the airport, reporting directly to the state government.
“This, in collaboration with the federal government and various departments under the Ministry of Transport, would result in more professional and efficient airport management,” he said.
Citing his personal experience as a frequent traveler, Goh who is also President of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) and the Federation of Sabah and Labuan Hokkien Associations (FSLHA) said KKIA falls short in terms of international standards and requires significant improvement.
Acknowledging tourism as a crucial source of foreign income for Sabah, coupled with trade and foreign investments, he opines that KKIA plays a significant role as the frontline ‘host’ for welcoming the state visitors. Unfortunately, the existing facilities and management of KKIA and its future plans are unsatisfactory and require urgent improvement.
Goh who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) expressed this in a statement issued today, while supporting the proposal made by Liew recently urging the state government to look into taking control of the KKIA management, as many issues remain unattended despite complaints.
Goh lamented that as the second-largest and busiest airport in the country, KKIA’s current facilities and service levels are below par. He also echoed concerns expressed by Liew over such issues like inadequate lighting, air conditioning, restroom facilities, luggage carts, conveyor belts, poor public announcement system, the underutilization of designated dining spaces, and the frequent disruption of power and water supply.
The Minister was recently reported for lamenting that KKIA is the second largest airport in the country and having an international airport with poor facilities is unacceptable. She added that it is very embarrassing when thousands of tourists arrive in Sabah only to be greeted with insufficient and below par services or facilities.
Goh said, this clearly indicated the KKIA management’s below par management and its lack of crisis awareness to deal with critical situations.
Acknowledging the urgency for improvement, he thus supported the Minister’s call for the state government to study the feasibility of taking over the airport’s management.
He also expressed full support for the recent announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during his visit to Sabah, that the federal government is considering the construction of a new terminal at KKIA. Goh thus hopes for swift implementation of the proposed plan.
He reiterated that given the current and future demands of Sabah’s tourism and economic development, it is crucial to execute such a plan to further unleash the potential for tourism and investment growth in the state.
Regarding suggestions to relocate Kota Kinabalu International Airport to Doyuran (approximately 40 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu) or Kimanis (approximately 80 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu), Wu Tianquan suggests a thorough study and consideration involving the state government and various stakeholders. However, he emphasizes that the immediate priority is to effectively manage and develop the current Kota Kinabalu International Airport, as the challenges from domestic and international demand have already begun.
Regarding suggestions to relocate KKIA to Tuaran (approximately 40 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu) or Kimanis (approximately 80 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu), Goh suggested a thorough study and consideration involving the state government and various stakeholders.
However, he emphasized that the immediate priority is to effectively manage and develop the existing KKIA, as the challenges from domestic and international demand have already begun.