The Prime Minister said the decision to extend the airport’s runway was made outside of what were scheduled in the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said it was made based on his meeting with tourism industry players in this district during his walkabout in Harbour Square Sandakan on March 3.
“They asked for the runway to be extended to enable bigger aircraft to land particularly for direct flights from China, South Korea, Japan and major cities.
“I immediately contacted the Transport Minister (Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai) and approved this project and am launching it during my visit to Sandakan again today,” he said when launching the project at the Sandakan Airport.
The upgrading work involves extending the runway from 2,134 metres to 2,500 metres.
Najib said the contractor who upgraded the Sandakan Airport terminal will undertake the project to extend the runway.
The prime minister described the project as important to the efforts to boost the tourism sector in the district, thus uplifting the people”s economy.
He said the presence of more tourists would increase the number of people staying in hotels in this district as well as nearby areas as well as promote eco-tourism.
Najib said the project was in line with his commitment to ensure that Sabah progresses like the states in Peninsular Malaysia.
He said Sabah held big potential and what the state needed was infrastructure development for its people.
The Prime Minister also urged the people, especially in the state, to continue supporting the government so as to ensure continuity of the efforts to develop the nation.
As such, he said, the people should not be duped by the lies of the opposition parties who want to instigate and confuse them.