KUCHING: The construction of a new airport for Mukah represents the prospect of a brighter future for the town and a trigger for development, especially when Mukah, which is located right in the heart of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) area, will be developed as a ‘Smart City’.
Mukah is also home to the Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA) and thus the central administrative base for the development of SCORE. Mukah will be primed to become the service hub and nerve centre for the Corridor, with emphasis on three special areas, namely knowledge, human resource skill development centre; research & development; and administrative centre
According to RECODA Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Amar Wilson Baya Dandot, the larger airport for Mukah will not only offer greater connectivity for the people, it will be a big boost to the overall economy of the town and the Division.
“Mukah Airport is expected to generate enormous economic value, not only for the town, it will represent a significant milestone in the development of SCORE,” he said here today, in conjunction with the contract signing ceremony between JKR Sarawak on behalf of SCORE and Hock Peng Furniture & General Contractor Sdn. Bhd., contractor appointed to carry out the earthworks, which represents the first phase of the new airport construction project.
He added the greater ease and convenience and air travel afforded by the new and better-equipped airport would entice more people to Mukah, particularly among investors and the business community.
“We can foresee that businesses in Mukah that rely heavily upon the efficient flow of people and goods will benefit the most from the new airport.”
He pointed out that the improved connectivity provided by the new airport would also potentially generate more indirect and induced employment opportunities, such as jobs created by the proposed Mukah Human Resource Skills Development Training Centre, proposed Mukah Science Park and R&D Centre, proposed Matadeng Industrial Park, hotel, catering, retail goods suppliers and the tourism industry.
The findings from the Mukah Airport Feasibility Study carried out in 2013 by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department highlighted that the passenger load travelling to Mukah under SCORE accelerated activities would be around 65,700 per year starting from 2017. Besides the local population, the passenger load would consist of investors, business community, professionals, tourists and a student population of 10,000 from Mukah Polytechnic, UiTM, UNIMAS R&D, PPKS and other skills-training institutions.
The proposed site is located between Mukah town and Mukah Polytechnic along the Mukah-Oya road; approximately 7 km from the town centre. The new Mukah airport is currently planned for ICAO Code 3C (i.e. ATR72 aircraft) operations. The runway for the airport for the current Phase 1 will be 1,500 meters in length and 30 meters wide. Facilities planned for Phase 1 works include a terminal building with gross floor area (GFA) of approximately 3,500m2; a DCA Control Tower; an Airport Fire & Rescue Station; a Meteorological Station; and an aircraft parking apron capable of accommodating up to two ATR72 aeroplanes at any one time.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin revealed in Mukah last month that works on the new Mukah airport would begin soon, as the Finance Ministry has already awarded the first package of the contract, worth RM133.3 million.