KUALA LUMPUR: Plans are under way for an international airport to be built in Pulau Tioman to boost tourism arrivals there, said Berjaya Corporation Berhad founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
He said the project is awaiting final approval from the Pahang state government which, in principle, is supportive of the idea.
“It will be a joint venture between Berjaya and the state government and we will come out with the funds to build this international airport. We are doing various studies and we are waiting for the final approval,” he said in his speech during the Perdana Awards ceremony at Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Tan also said Berjaya plans to build another international airport in Pulau Redang with the company’s internal funds.
“Personally, I think when these two airports are built, Tioman and Redang will one day be as successful as Phuket or Koh Samui,” he said.
He added that Pulau Tioman can attract millions of visitors compared with hundreds of thousands currently.
“I believe the whole island can transform, and that’s the vision I see. I believe it is possible and the state government believes in my vision,” he said.
Berjaya owns hotel resorts in both Pulau Tioman and Pulau Redang.
Tan also touched on home ownership among the lower income group where he encouraged developers to build more low-cost homes so that people can afford to have their own houses.
“I think we need to make sure that every Malaysian family owns a house. Our staff and people who earn RM3,000 and below, they shouldn’t be renting a house, they should be owning a house. This is one of my very strong beliefs,” he said.
Citing Singapore as a successful example, where almost 90% of the housing is owned by the government and allocated to Singaporeans to live in affordable homes.
Tan said Singapore has the most successful housing policy in the world.
He also urged property developers to not merely look at profits but build more low-cost homes so that more people will have their own shelter.
“This will contribute to greater political stability. There is no point for us to stay in big mansions, with barbed wires and armed guards if the lower income people are not happy,” he said.
He added that greater political stability will be good for business as businesses can be built sustainably.