20 December 2013
BY B.K. SIDHU
AS far as klia2 is concerned, it is no longer a question of keeping deadlines, but of credibility.
How many delays can one stomach?
Two, three, four? And how many are needed to get this giant structure completed?
Over the past few days, there has been talk of yet another delay as many believe the May 2 deadline will not be met.
Just to recap, the airport was supposed to have opened its doors on May 1 this year, but that was not to be. The opening was postponed to May 2, 2014, which means the Government had effectively given the contractors another year to complete the task.
Now the terminal building is said to be 98% complete, just 2% short of done. However, there is also a long “re-do” list now, which involves, among others, repairing glaring cracks, poor surface conditions, clearing puddles and re-fixing the district cooling system. All these need to be fixed before the terminal building is handed over by Jan 31.
What sparked the talk of a delay again are concerns that there is “slippage in the work schedule at the terminal building.”
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) said the terminal building contractor has to make every endeavour to complete klia2 for its opening on May 2, 2014 and it had expressed this concern to the contractor.”
MAHB’s concerns are valid, as it has been often lambasted for using too much money to build too big an airport, which can’t seem to be completed. It gave out 51 packages, with over 30 consultants involved, and yet the RM4bil project has not been completed.
Though it supervised and also has threatened to impose penalties for late delivery, it can’t really do anything other than wait. MAHB is at the mercy of the contractors. The only other thing it can possibly do is pull back the contract – even that has its limitations and it is too late in the day to do that.
That is why the evaluation process of handing out contracts is critical. Deciding which contractor is best suited for the job is a tedious process. The highest and lowest priced bid do not necessarily guarantee a job well done.
As for the contractors, they have to keep to their promises and focus on quality delivery. If any of the contractors knew they could not deliver, then they should have been upfront about it and not accept the contract.
Yes, some changes to the airport design came rather late in the day for the contractors.
But whatever the reason, the delays do not bode well for those who want to rent space and start business at the airport. They would be missing out on opportunities. Even MAHB may lose out as airlines that may have wanted to use klia2 may be looking at other options.
Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, who heads the klia2 taskforce which monitors the progress of work, still believes the terminal building can be handed over by the end January. And he has made it clear that the Government will not revise the opening date.
That should send a strong message to the parties involved to pull their socks up.
Business editor (news) B.K. Sidhu believes this is a time to be merry and not worry about delays.