The local authorities are completing a plan to expand Tan Son Nhat Airport and Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said it was an urgent need to expand Tan Son Nhat Airport and using the golf course land would be an obvious decision.
However, the minister passed the buck on the decision and said the Ministry of Transport was responsible for this. The Ministry of Transport must create and submit the plan to the government.
"If necessary, we must take the land of the golf course to upgrade the airport and we must discuss this with the investors and the Ministry of Defence," he said.
According to Dung, the Ministry of Planning and Investment is drafting a plan to give the local authorities full responsibility and authorisation to issue permits and manage their golf courses. Investors must follow several conditions to build golf courses such as not using the rice fields or military land.
Dung dismissed concerns that some investors may ask for permits to build golf course but invest in restaurants and villas instead. Dung said there were regulations for violators and if there were real need, it was fine if every province had their own courses.
"The draft laws we are revising also include it. In addition, the government will set criteria on how much land can be used to build golf courses," he said.
Major General Lam Quang Dai, deputy political commissar of the air force, said Tan Son Nhat already had two runways, what it lacked are the parking lot and the road leads to the runways.
The Ministry of Defence has transferred 21 hectares of land in the south of Tan Son Nhat Airport to the Ministry of Transport for expansion while the golf course is in the north. He went on to say that the military base is separating the golf course and the airport.
"The 157-hectare golf course is the military's reserved land to protect HCM City as well as Tan Son Nhat Airport. While it is idle, the government can use it for economic development. When it is needed, the ministry will recall the land," he said.