KOTA BHARU: Work to upgrade the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport (LTSIP) in Pengkalan Chepa here has been delayed for 83 days due to a shortage of foreign workers, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said that work to upgrade and expand the LTSIP was currently at 9% compared to 14% according to the actual plan.
He added that apart from the shortage of foreign workers, the implementation of the movement control order previously had also contributed to the delay in getting supplies for the upgrading and expansion works.
“Now we have only 180 workers for the LTSIP upgrading and expansion process and, of the number, 30 are local workers and the rest comprise foreign labour. When work reaches the final stage, we will need up to 400 workers.
“However, the shortage of foreign workers is a national problem and not only confined to Kelantan, especially at construction sites and also the plantation sector,” he said to reporters after visiting the LTSIP construction project site in Pengkalan Chepa on Sunday (March 20).
Elaborating, Mustapa said the contractors handling the project had applied to the Home Ministry (KDN) for more foreign workers in a bid to overcome the problem.
“Apart from that, the Transport Ministry is also making efforts to resolve the problem of labour shortage to assist the companies. We hope this matter can be resolved immediately, as we only have around two more years to complete this project,” he said.
He hoped that the issue could be resolved immediately since this iconic project, which is among the state government’s biggest in the state involving RM440mil, is widely anticipated by the people of Kelantan.
“When this project is completed, it can accommodate up to four million passengers per year compared to 1.5 million passengers currently. The facilities offered will be of international standard, with 11 aircraft parking areas compared to just five previously.
“In fact, the number of passengers using the LTSIP now is almost back at the pre-Covid-19 pandemic level, with the number of passengers using it reaching 90%,” he said. – Bernama