KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30): The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) have plans to acquire land owned by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to enable the project to upgrade the Kuching International Airport (KIA) to be carried out.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah said an application would be submitted by the ministry to request the funds to acquire the land, which is next to the KIA, under the Fifth Rolling Plan of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) next year.

“The plan to upgrade the KIA can only be implemented after the land is acquired. This is because there are some existing facilities located in the area that need to be moved out first to the SMA land,” he said.

He said this during a question-and-answer session in the Dewan Negara in response to a question from Senator Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim on MAHB’s plans to upgrade the KIA and Miri Airport, following an increasing number of tourists entering Sarawak.

According to Hasbi, the current capacity of the existing terminal at the KIA is five million passengers per year (mppa), with passenger movement recorded at 5.9 mppa, which is 19% above its design capacity in 2019.

He said the KIA handled 4.3 million passengers in 2022.

Regarding the proposed upgrading of the Miri Airport, Hasbi said the ministry had listed the project as a priority under the Fourth Rolling Plan of the 12MP.

“This proposal involves increasing the capacity of the terminal from two million passengers per year to three million per year. However, taking into account the latest announcement of Budget 2024, the MOT will submit the application in the Fifth Rolling Plan of the 12MP next year,” he added.

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