24 November 2011
T.K. Letchumy Tamboo
DAP presses transport ministry to justify budget overrun
The Transport Ministry has been pressured by DAP to disclose the full construction cost of the new low-cost carrier terminal (klia2).
The party’s national publicity secretary, Tony Pua, yesterday cautioned the ministry’s failure to clarify and justify the cost would result in investigations on the project by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Auditor General’s (AG) office.
Pua said this followed a report in a financial daily on Tuesday stating the cost of klia2 had ballooned from its original budget to more than RM4 billion.
"The severe cost overrun is shocking and shows that Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha has failed in his responsibilities to maintain the costing.
"MCA transport ministers have a history of failing miserably in managing project costs, which has resulted in the rakyat having to bear the burden of billions of ringgit in cost overruns, such as the RM12.5 billion in Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project, the RM5.8 billion Ipoh-Rawang double-tracking railway and the purchase of substandard train systems for KTM Berhad at inflated prices," he told a Press conference at Parliament lobby yesterday.
Pua said the klia2 project now appeared to be part of the ministry’s list of incompetence.
He said such extravagance would result in higher airport taxes and charges, or in the tourism industry.
"If the charges are maintained, the cost burden will be shifted to the government which has to unnecessarily subsidise the airport through soft loans, grants or drastically reduced financial returns from the project owner, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).
"Take note that in early 2009, Sime Darby, in partnership with AirAsia, had proposed to build a new low-cost carrier airport in Labu at the cost of only RM1.6 billion without charging the government a single sen.
"However, the plan was scrapped by the government, partly because MAHB had promised to build a new terminal at KLIA at the cost of less than RM2 billion by June 2011."
Pua said the ministry must provide full clarification and justification as to why they had failed to manage and control the cost of the new airport.
"He must also explain why the project has been delayed to April 2012 as announced by MAHB managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad in August this year and whether there will be any further costly delays to the project."
Pua said he would be formally requesting PAC and the AG’s office to conduct an investigation on the project if Kong did not respond accordingly to Parliament in a transparent and accountable manner.