Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha might very well be the most incompetent Transport Minister ever for failing to protect and defend public interest over multi-billion ringgit scandals happening right under his nose. Instead, he chooses to hold multiple press conferences to announce record-breaking bids made for auctioned “WWW” car number plates which raised RM11.3 million in revenue for the Government, as reported by Bernama yesterday.
The Transport Minister has not provided answers nor has he reigned in the scandals which are happening right under his nose. Instead, he has chosen to place the blame on others and claimed the scandals were not his responsibility.
For example, the cost of the new “low cost terminal” KLIA2 had increased drastically from the originally estimated RM1.7 billion in 2007 to RM3.9 billion last year. The change in the site of KLIA2 has caused the cost of construction to bloat because the new spot was already identified as unsuitable for the construction of an airport due to it being a peat swamp. Despite the RM2.2 billion cost overrun to date, Dato’ Seri Kong had the cheek to tell the media that “I don’t have much to answer because the decision was not made by MOT”.
In the case of the burgeoning Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, Dato’ Seri Kong, who is also MCA Secretary-General had directed that payments be continued to be made to the bondholders of Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB). This is despite the fact that the Port Klang Authority has sued KDSB, owned by Barisan Nasional Backbencher Chairman (BNBBC) Dato’ Seri Tiong King Sing for the amount of RM1.6 billion for excessive and fraudulent claims.
Despite clearly being the Minister responsible to protect the rakyat’s interest, he pointed fingers at the PKA, saying that “…if PKA says that we pay although they have asked to stop the payments, but every time the figure to be paid is on advice from the PKA… The PKA actually advises us on what is the amount outstanding.”
More recently, the Business Times has earlier this week reported that MMC-Gamuda is due to submit a RM1.5 billion variation order to the government for cost overruns in the Ipoh-Padang Besar Electrified Double Track (EDTP). Despite a subsequent denial from MMC-Gamuda, they admitted that it will be seeking claims for “expenses and losses” caused by the government.
The value of the EDTP is worth RM12.49 billion and an increase of RM1.5 billion will mean a significant 12% increase in the cost of the project. These additional claims has raised fears and concerns that the Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch of the EDTP will suffer the same fate as the Ipoh-Rawang segment where the cost of the project increased from RM4.2 billion to RM6.6 billion, or by more than 50%.
However, the Transport Minister has remained irresponsibly silent on the above matter, asking instead for the contract to provide clarification to the public.
Malaysians want their Transport Minister to take control of the situation and demonstrate leadership to ensure that billions of ringgit of tax-payers’ monies are not abused and wasted. We do not want a Transport Minister who takes the very first opportunity to shift responsibility and blame, especially by asking an interested party like the EDTP contractor to answer to the public instead.
Malaysians do not need a Transport Minister who is only interested in reporting to us how much the WWW1 number plate was auctioned for RM520,000; instead of resolving and bringing to book the people responsible for the RM3.9 billion KLIA2 scandal, RM12.5 Port Klang Free Zone fiasco or the impending cost overrun for the RM12.5 billion EDTP project.
It is high time for Datuk Seri Najib to demonstrate his seriousness about transformation by disposing of incompetent Ministers and appointing only those who are not only able, but has the interest of the people at heart.