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‘Tunoh airport part of long-term policy plan’
Posted on : 26 Apr 2019  Source of News: THe Borneo Post Online

‘Tunoh airport part of long-term policy plan’

By Rintos Mail on April 26, 2019, Friday at 12:05 AM News, Sarawak

Abang Johari (front, left) is accompanied by DCCI president Datuk Joseph Salang upon his arrival to officiate DCCI’s 17th annual general meeting. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The Sarawak government’s decision to build an airport in Tunoh, Kapit was made as part of a long-term policy plan for the area, explained Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said once roads are built to complement the Baleh and Bakun dams, the land will eventually be opened for commercial downstream agriculture activities which will necessitate the need for greater connectivity.

“I have decided to build the airport in Tunoh because of the potential of agriculture in the area. I know there are sceptics who complained about the need to build an airport there when I announced the plan.

“But we are looking at the long-term benefits of the people, and that is why we decided to build the airport,” he said at the launch of the 17th annual general meeting of Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching yesterday.

Abang Johari said a similar case in point would be when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) built.

“There were sceptics criticising him (Dr Mahathir), but now look at KLIA,” he said, adding the same thing had happened when the Sarawak government built an airstrip in Bario.

“They (sceptics) questioned the need of having an airstrip in Bario, but today Bario wants a longer airstrip for bigger planes to land.”

The chief minister said he believes that over time, the situation will be the same in Tunoh where there will be a demand for a longer airstrip as well.

He said having an airport in Tunoh will definitely benefit the Dayak community because they own the land in the area.

“The Dayaks can open up and develop their land for commercial agriculture. You know fresh agriculture produce cannot last long; they must be sent to the market as soon as possible.

“Having the airport will help farmers get their produce immediately to the market and generate more income,” he said.

The proposed airport in Tunoh, Bukit Mabong district will cost over RM100 million, with construction slated to begin this year end.