25 November 2014
Putrajaya should take immediate action following the release of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on low-cost carrier terminal klia2, said an opposition lawmaker.
Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara) said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai should act against those responsible for the ballooning cost of klia2's construction as well as problems experienced by the airport.
"I hope the transport minister will take all necessary action, including acting against those responsible for the cost increases.
"He should also take remedial action to ensure this does not happen again," Pua said at the Parliament lobby today.
In saying that Liow could not ignore what was stated in the PAC report, Pua said he is willing to meet the MCA minister to explain in detail PAC findings.
In expressing shock over the findings, Sim Tze Tzin (PKR – Bayan Baru) demanded heads to roll, starting with former MAHB's managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad.
"It's a combination of errors, from failure to adhere to the master plan, to failure to follow technical decisions and bad market positioning which contributed to klia2 massive cost overruns and construction delays," he said.
He said such costly mistakes have jeopardised a golden opportunity for Malaysia to be the hub of low-cost-carriers in the region.
Putrajaya, said the first-term MP, must come up with a clear plan on how to resolve this problem and ensure Malaysians will not end up paying steeper airport and passenger fees due to MAHB's massive profit drop which are attributed to the cost of building klia2.
In its third-quarter earnings ending September, the airport operator saw its nett profit plunged 98.6% from RM112.78 million a year ago to a mere RM1.61 million.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia recently, it said the decline was due to higher costs incurred by the new terminal, as well as higher financing costs on borrowings incurred for the klia2 construction.
The PAC report on klia2 tabled in Parliament today revealed that MAHB's failure to consider the needs of budget airline operators led to cost overruns and problems in the low-cost terminal.
The report also found the airport operator and manager did not have any experience in building an airport of such magnitude.
One of the more damning findings in the PAC report was that MAHB ignored the recommendation of KLIA masterplan that any airport expansion works should be done at the north side of the international airport site where the soil is stable.
But, the company proceeded to construct klia2 on the west side, where the master plan had warned of swampy soil and would require massive rehabilitative works.
This contributed to the "ponding" issues – pooling of water on the runway, bumpy taxiways and "sinking" parking bays – around klia2 although soil treatment works had been done during construction.
klia2, stated the report, failed to achieve its objective as a low-cost terminal as requested by low-cost carriers and had instead changed it to be a "hybrid concept airport".
"Although MAHB has been given an opportunity by the government to manage airports in Malaysia, it is clear the company did not prioritise the needs of its clients, namely low-cost airlines' operators," the report said.
MAHB's failure in completing the project on time had also caused Putrajaya to suffer negative perceptions, the report further stated.
"The klia2 project failed to meet its completion deadline, it was supposed to be completed in September 2011 but that was changed a few times until May 2, 2014.
"The delay caused various allegations and negative perceptions being thrown towards the government.
"MAHB was too optimistic with klia2 opening dates and gave unrealistic promises to the government," the report said.
It further said klia2 would threaten KLIA as the country's main airport and cause Malaysia to lose the chance to be a successful low-cost-carrier hub in the Asia Pacific region.
klia2 was built to replace the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport cargo centre.
The project that began construction in 2009 suffered several delays due to design changes and extensive earthwork.
The cost also ballooned from RM2 billion to RM4 billion which MAHB said was due to several requests from AirAsia and other agencies.
Low-cost airlines such as Malindo Air, Cebu Pacific Air, Tiger Airways, Mandala Airlines and Lion Air moved to the new airport on May 2, while Asia’s biggest budget carrier, AirAsia, did so a week later.
Several safety concerns had been highlighted, but a week before its official opening, the International Civil Aviation Organisation inspected the facility and gave the go-ahead for the terminal to start operations. – November 25, 2014.
Original Source: www.themalaysianinsider.com