Thursday, March 22, 2012

KLIA2: KongChoHa Remains Evasive

I have received yesterday evening, a response from the Ministry of Transport to my question raised in Parliament with regards to the construction cost of KLIA2.

I had asked the Minister of Transport, Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha on the reason for the shift of the airport from the originally proposed northern site (KLIA North) to the current western site (KLIA West) which is under construction. The shift of the site has caused the cost of construction to bloat because KLIA West was already identified as unsuitable for the construction of an airport due to it being a peat swamp.

The Minster only responded that the decision to shift the site was “based on KLIA Blueprint December 2008”.

The super-short reply from the Minister of Transport to my question in parliament leaves much to be desired, to say the least.

One could immediately read from the reply that the Minister has no interest in promoting accountability and transparency in the KLIA2 scandal which resulted in the cost of construction increasing from an initial RM1.7 billion to RM3.9 billion.  The sheer nonchalance and lack of willingness to provide clarification shows that there is something to hide.

In addition to the above, I have received reliable information which says that the cost of the new “low-cost” terminal will continue to increase due to 2 additional factors:

a. The additional control tower which has to be built because the existing control tower cannot see the planes at the KLIA West site, has been shifted again at the request of the Department of Civil Aviation because the new site still could not have full view of the airport.  As a result more cost has to be incurred to shift the “new” control tower and construction cost will further increase due to higher height requirements.

b. Earthworks on the construction site has found additional challenges as certain parts of the the peat swamp contain more water than had been anticipated.  This will result in further cost increase and further delays in getting the airport ready.  The KLIA2 has already been delayed from the original September 2011 completion date to a new April 2013 target completion date.

These are serious issues of governance which must be dealt with by the Minister of Transport and there is no question that heads must roll in the above fiasco which will ultimately cost the tax-payers more than RM2.2 billion in additional costs.

Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha had kindly scheduled for a dialogue with Member of Parliament of Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar and myself this morning at the Ministry of Transport.  Unfortunately, the meeting was postponed at the last minute as the Minister had to attend an urgent function in Taiping.

We look forward to a rescheduled meeting with the Minister to provide more detailed answers since he is unwilling to do so in Parliament.
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