Last update:
2020-11-17

KXP AirportCity / Kulim Airport, Malaysia

In February 2020 about 300 residents of Pantai Cicar village protested against land acquisition for KXP AirportCity - a new Kulim Airport and a logistics, aerospace and manufacturing hub. Livelihoods from oil palm and rubber tapping would be affected.


Description:

In May 2019 Free Malaysia Today reported that the Kedah government had earmarked 600 hectares of oil palm estate in the county of Sidam Kiri for a new airport called Kulim International Airport. Sidam Kiri is in the Kuala Muda District in the state of Kedah. Sungai Petani is the largest town in Kedah. A Sungai Petani Municipal Council spokesman confirmed that the airport would be built in Sidam Kiri although the exact site had yet to be determined. Sidam Kiri is largely composed of oil palm plantations, paddi (rice) fields and villages, surrounded by low rolling hills. There are many cottage industries such as wood carving and basket weaving. Cultural facilities include a Siamese Buddhist temple and shaman shacks. It was reported that news of the airport project met with support from local people who expressed hope it would bring more jobs and business for them. A farmer fully supported the project and said that locals should be given the chance to participate in the side projects arising from construction of the airport. He said “I hope the state government will talk to us and hear us out on what we think”. An assemblyman said the airport could bring an economic boom to Sidam Kiri and surrounding towns and that Kedah Menteri Besar (Chieaf Minister) Mukhriz Mahathir was in talks with local growers to prepare for international export of their crops via the new airport. At the state assembly the previous month Mukhriz said the airport had been included in the draft Kuala Muda District Local Plan (Replacement) 2035 which had been on display for public feedback since 1st April. The Kedah government appointed KXP AirportCity Holdings (KAHSB) to manage and coordinate construction on Kulim Airport [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:KXP AirportCity / Kulim Airport, Malaysia
Country:Malaysia
State or province:Kedah
Location of conflict:Kuala Muda
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Ports and airport projects
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Land
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In July 2014 newly appointed Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai stated that the Transport Ministry would consider the proposed new Kulim Airport Project. Malaysia’s State Chief Minister revealed the construction cost of the proposed airport was estimated at USD500 million, covering land acquisition, infrastructure developments and two runways. In August 2014 the Ministry of Transport announced it would conduct an independent feasibility study on the airport proposal. The Northern Corridor Implementation Agency (NCIA) would undertake a similar assessment on the airport proposal after receiving approval from the Economic Planning Unit. In December 2014 Kedah Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) Mukhriz Mahathir said the Kedah State Government planned to construct an ‘aerocity’ at the proposed Kulim Airport; an industrial and business area located on the 600 hectare airport precinct would “accommodate all industries related to air transportation”. In March 2015 Mukhriz said Kulim Airport would initially operate as a cargo facility. The project was still at a preliminary stage and subject to Federal Government approval. In February 2019 Mukhriz said Kedah state had received Federal Government approval to establish a company called KXP AirportCity Holdings (KAHSB) to coordinate and manage development of Kulim Airport.[8] KAHSB is fully owned by the state government via the Kedah Development Corporation (PKNK).

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Project area:3,982
Level of Investment:500,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:19/02/2020
Company names or state enterprises:KXP AirportCity Holdings (KAHSB) from Malaysia - Appointed by Kedah government to spearhead, manage and coordinate construction of Kulim Airport
Mentri Besar Kedah Incorporated (MBI Kedah) from Malaysia - Signatory of MoU for Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub in Kedah, 28/03/2019
AeroPlans Asia Sdn Bhd from Malaysia - Signatory of MoU for Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub in Kedah, 28/03/2019
Global Aerospace Sdn Bhd from Malaysia - Signatory of MoU for Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub in Kedah, 28/03/2019
UA Aerospace Sdn Bhd from Malaysia - Signed a technical partnership with AVIC Harbin General Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd. and Menteri Besar Kedah to establish an aircraft final assembly facility for Y12 aircraft and maintenance, repair and overhaul facility (MRO) for AC312 helicopters in Kedah. Signatory of MoU for Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub in Kedah, 28/03/2019
T-GAC Group (Tijan – Galaxy Aerospace Consortium) from Malaysia - Signatory of MoU for Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub in Kedah, 28/03/2019
ADP Ingénierie (ADPI) from France - Appointed as consultant for Kedah Aerotropolis master plan
ECK Group of Companies (ECK) from Singapore - Entered into partnership with Kedah State government to develop Kulim International Airport, Kedah Aerotropolis and Airport City in February 2021[18]
Relevant government actors:Kedah State Government
Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA)
Ministry of Transport
Sungai Petani Municipal Council
National Physical Planning Council (NPPC)
Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM)
Economic Planning Unit
Federal Government of Malaysia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Jawatankuasa Badan Bertindak Kampung Pantai Cicar (Pantai Cicar village action committee)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Oil spills, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIllnesses caused by pollutants emitted by aircraft
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Development of alternatives:Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, vice president of the MCA (Malaysia Chinese Association), a political party, suggested that instead of KXP the Federal Government should improve railway facilities between northern Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur [4].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:At the time of the protest by Pantai Cicar villagers against land acquisition for KXP AirportCity on 28th February 2020 the local government and housing committee chairman said the state government would investigate and review the project’s impact on the environment, and that planning was just beginning and there would be a discussion session.[6] In October 2020 Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said project approval in principle is subject to further consideration by the Transport Ministry and other government agencies [14].
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Land Acquisition Act 1960 (Revised 1992)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[17] Company to inject RM2bil to acquire land for Kulim airport project, Free Malaysia Today, 17/02/2021
[click to view]

[18] ECK Group to partner with Kedah Govt in Kulim international airport development, The Edge Markets, 25/02/2021
[click to view]

[1] Small padi town earmarked for new Kulim airport, Free Malaysia Today, 22/02/2019
[click to view]

[14] Wee: Kulim International Airport approved 'only in principle', New Straits Times, 30/10/2020
[click to view]

[11] ADPI appointed as masterplan consultant for Kulim Airport, MalaysiaKini, 10/02/2020
[click to view]

[2] Report: Leaked Kedah’s Budget 2020 presentation file shows Kulim airport to have two runways, Malay Mail, 28/08/2019
[click to view]

[10] Kulim airport to have two runways, The Star, 28/28/2019
[click to view]

[3] Profiteers trying to cash in on Kulim airport land deals, Free Malaysia Today, 04/11/2019
[click to view]

[4] ‘Kulim airport may be white elephant’, Metro News, 15/02/2020
[click to view]

[5] Penduduk Bantah ‘Projek Kulim Airport’, BFM Media, 19/02/2020
[click to view]

[6] Bantah ambil tanah kampung untuk KXP [METROTV], Harian Metro, 28/02/2020
[click to view]

[13] Kedah seeks federal help with new RM5 bil Kulim airport, Free Malaysia Today, 02/07/2020
[click to view]

[15] NCER to implement human capital, high-impact infrastructure in Kedah under SDP 2021-2025., NST Business, 03/11/2020
[click to view]

[8] Kulim Airport, Centre for Aviation (CAPA)
[click to view]

[9] Mukhriz: Northern Aeropolis and Aerospace Hub to be set up in Kedah, Malay Mail, 28/03/2019
[click to view]

[12] KXP terima penerbangan pertama 2024, BH ONLINE, 10/02/2020
[click to view]

[16] KEDAH AEROTROPOLIS, Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Protest against taking village land for KXP, about 300 residents of Pantai Cicar gathered in front of mosque to protest land acquisition. Harian Metro, 28/02/2020
[click to view]

[7] Opposition to airport project, residents of Pantai Cicar objected to proposed construction of Kulim Airport in their village. Sinar Harian, 02/03/2020
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded / Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement (GAAM) email: [email protected]
Last update17/11/2020
Comments
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