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Ipoh, that city in the middle needs more connectivity.

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Not too long ago, someone asked me if Ipoh properties are worth investing in. I laughed. You must not ask a Ipohan about property investment in Ipoh. They may just tell you about all the crazy prices and then tell you that the best time might have been years before. Well, they are right and wrong at the same time. Right because prices did rise a lot when compared to those years when even property prices in the Klang Valley did not move much. Those days when Kelana Puteri condo (check the price today) was still RM190,000 and there were so many units for sale. However, when the prices rise in all the major cities, Ipoh followed naturally. Reason was because there are buyers who came from those bigger cities and Ipoh happened to be in the middle. Wrong because there’s no such thing as the best time. I would like to tell you that inflation would always mean the best time is yet to come. Prices today will not stay the same 10 years down the road. Oh yeah, unless of course Ipoh starts to be deserted by everyone, the manufacturing companies move out and Ipoh stops receiving new tourists, then perhaps prices today are already the highest. Fortunately, those possibilities are low at this moment.

So, what would help Ipoh tremendously? Actually, Ipoh is in a fortunate and unfortunate location. Fortunate because it is in the middle of Penang and KL. That’s good because driving down does not take forever and Ipoh food is second to none. Unfortunate because due to this, it does not make enough economic sense for an international airport to rival PIA (Penang International Airport) or KLIA. That’s why until today, there are lots of noises from the people of Ipoh but not much actions from the authorities. One latest article about this dream / request is in TheStar. Within the article, this was quoted as a response from the Perak MB, Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir about a new international airport. He said that the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh can no longer be expanded due to limited land and the state government has been in discussions with the Economic Planning Unit about the possibility of a new airport. There were many other reasons stated within the article as to why Ipoh needs an airport.

If a new international airport is needed, it should be out of Ipoh. More land is needed. It should be targeted to attract tourists to come into Ipoh but let’s be very objective. Ipoh is not as well known as Penang’s UNESCO Heritage City status or KL’s Twin Towers. We may be listed here and there. Example: Lonely Planet: Perak is top 10 region to visit for 2017  This meant that even more money would be needed to be spent to market Ipoh as a tourist hotspot.  Second thing I worry is that if it’s outside Ipoh, say 45 minutes away from Ipoh city centre, then connectivity becomes an issue. How will we be connecting these two dots? That’s a question which needs to be answered too.

Perhaps we can look at the Sultan Abdul Aziz airport (Subang airport) as a good model? It can always be a hub for turboprop planes. The distance possible for these turboprop planes would be 1,500km which meant that flights to Phuket, Medan and even Bangkok is within range. Actually, it can covers lots of cities within this radius. The only issue would be how many things that Ipoh offers which is NOT available in other more well known cities in Malaysia? Perhaps a stronger NGO on this particular issue should start rallying for more support? Yes, of course I will help to publicise it too. Just write to me yeah. I love Ipoh and of course would be staying there when I retire. Cheers.

written on 28 May 2017

Next suggested article: Ipoh retirement, doing nothing?

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