3 July 2013
Tony Pua, DAP’s national publicity secretary, today urged acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein to set up an independent committee to probe the delays in the completion of klia2.
At a press conference in Parliament, Pua said the Transport Ministry has to be responsible towards “the klia2 scandal” in view of the fact that its secretary general Datuk Long See Wool sits on the board of directors of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MPHB).
“The ministry’s reply does not make sense at all and shows its irresponsibility towards investments and expenses by government-linked companies,” said Pua, also Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament.
Pua was referring to Hishamuddin’s written reply to his questions regarding the delays and the cost impact caused by the delay in klia2 project, along with the amount of liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) klia2 contractors could be slapped with.
The written reply from the Minister read that MAHB would not suffer losses because there would be no impact on its business and profitability and also that the delay would not affect MAHB’s operations.
Hishamuddin added in his written reply that the company would still be able to keep its ‘Triple A’ rating based on the rating by RAM Ratings Services Sdn Bhd as it is financially well-positioned.
“If the construction cost increases due to the delay, how would this not affect MAHB’s earnings… I must stress that the Minister has not given the assurance that the cost would not go beyond RM4 billion,” said Pua.
According to Pua, the construction of klia2 has increased by as much as RM1.7 billion to an estimated RM4 billion.
He added that MAHB has taken up borrowings of RM3.1 billion to support the construction cost.
“The delays in klia2 give a negative impact on the government? plans on making Kuala Lumpur a low cost carrier hub in the Asia region.
“Additionally, MAHB gets to keep its Triple A rating not only because it has good financial position but because rating agencies understand that should MAHB lack finances, the government would definitely help to bail out the company,” said Pua.
He added that even though the cost of klia2 has ballooned significantly, the cost would be shifted to users through an increase in airport tax.
According to Pua, airport tax has already risen as much as 28% in November 2011 to RM32 from RM25 for LCCT to support klia2? rising construction cost.