12 December 2014
A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member has questioned the Transport Ministry's decision to set up an independent panel to investigate the sinking and ponding issues at klia2 instead of heeding its recommendation for the Auditor-General (A-G) to audit the RM4 billion low-cost terminal.
PAC member, DAP's Tony Pua, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had chosen to "callously" ignore the committee's recommendation by announcing the setting up of the independent panel, which he said had a strictly limited scope of just investigating sinking surfaces at the apron and runway of the airport.
He said while the sinking surfaces at the airport were certainly a matter of serious concern and had also been highlighted in the PAC report, it was not the only issue with which PAC had grave misgivings.
In its report tabled on November 26, PAC had proposed that the A-G conduct an audit of the airport following its findings that the main cause of the problems in klia2 was the ballooning of its cost from the initial RM1.7 billion to RM4 billion.
The construction of the airport was also delayed due to the mismanagement of airport operator Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and its failure to consider the needs of budget airline operators at klia2 which led to cost overruns and problems in the low-cost terminal.
The PAC report found that MAHB had decided to locate the terminal at the west side, a site which had been documented by engineers as costly and ill-suited for airport construction. The choice of a satellite-type terminal had also been made instead of a finger pier terminal as proposed by the airport consultants.
“It is clear that the independent audit committee will not be given any room to dig into the faults and identify the culprits behind the scandal.
“Is the minister of transport trying to cover up the gross mismanagement over the design, award and construction of klia2? Is Liow remotely interested in punishing those behind the decisions which resulted in the profits of MAHB dropping by a staggering 98% in the latest financial quarter?” Pua asked in a statement today.
In its third-quarter earnings ending September, the airport operator saw its nett profit plunge 98.6% from RM112.78 million a year ago to a mere RM1.61 million.
In a recent filing to Bursa Malaysia, MAHB 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.
"Or will the RM4 billion klia2 scandal go the way of the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal which has become a crime without criminals under the Ministry of Transport? Have the MCA ministers of transport become just the ministers of cover-ups for multi-billion ringgit project scandals without any sense of responsibility and accountability?" said Pua.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP added that there was no reason for Liow, who is MCA president, to disregard PAC's recommendation for the A-G to audit klia2 if there was nothing to hide.
In announcing members of the independent committee, Liow had given the panel until the first half of next year to complete their report, saying that any action taken would be based on the report.
Liow had also said the report would be made public and stern action taken against any party, if necessary. – December 12, 2014.
Original Source: www.themalaysianinsider.com