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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

'Vision City won't be hurt by aborted Labu LCCT'

Conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd says its Negri Sembilan Vision City project will not be hurt by the absence of a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) in Labu.

This is because the KL International Airport (KLIA) is still within its development area and the initial plan had been to use the KLIA as the catalyst for its project.

"It doesn't matter where the airport is. Sepang is within our area. That was our original plan, to develop the Sepang estate as an aeropolis," chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid told reporters at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Plans for an LCCT in Labu were scrapped after a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes on January 30.

However, a new LCCT will be built near the KLIA in Sepang. Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, KLIA's operator, will have to work closely with AirAsia on this project.
Zubir explained that when Sime Darby was approached by AirAsia, the conglomerate had suggested that it develop an LCCT on its Sepang estate.

However, that could not happen because the Department of Civil Aviation said it would be in KLIA's flight path. The proposal for an LCCT in Labu was then mooted.

"Our Vision Valley project does not change (because of the aborted Labu LCCT)," Zubir said.

In December last year, a senior Sime Darby official had said that the Labu LCCT would be crucial to the Negri Sembilan Vision City in attracting investment and facilitating economic development.

He said the new LCCT, which would cost RM1.6 billion in construction alone, would promote economic activities, particularly in the construction industry, and create jobs.

The Negri Sembilan Vision City development is the second part of a bigger national development project called Central Vision Valley (CVV), which spans 166,000ha.

The first part is known as the Selangor Vision City.

"Sime Darby is the master planner for the CVV due to the fact that we are the biggest landowner in this area. Of the 166,000ha in the CVV, 32,000ha belong to Sime Darby," the official said.

The group expects to complete the development of the two vision cities by 2025.

By Business Times (by Shahriman Johari)

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