By Anisah Shukry
KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Petaling Jaya Utara MP, Tony Pua, claimed the transport minister’s vague response to questions about the rising costs of KLIA2 construction “shows that there is something to hide.”
“I asked Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha about the reason for the shift of the airport... the minister only responded that the decision in the shift was ‘based on KLIA Blueprint December 2008”,” said Pua.
“The sheer nonchalance and lack of willingness to provide clarification shows that there is something to hide,” he added.
Pua (picture) said the jump in KLIA2 construction cost from RM1.7 billion to RM3.9 billion on the decision to relocate the new low-cost carrier terminal to KLIA West, as significant earthworks had to be carried out at the new location.
He said the cost would probably go up further due to the construction of an additional control tower and the unsuitable terrain.
“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,” said Pua.
He added that he was looking forward to a meeting with the minister since “he is so unwilling to do so in Parliament.”
In February, Pua slammed MAHB managing director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad for saying late last year that public funds would not be used to fund the additional cost of KLIA2.
Pua, who is also DAP publicity chief, pointed out that despite the earlier denial, MAHB said it will raise approximately RM598 million from a proposed share placement exercise.
“The action by MAHB to raise additional funds from the market proves that public financial interest has been compromised as a result of the RM2.2 billion increase in cost of KLIA2.
“Existing major shareholders of MAHB which act indirectly as trustees to government and public funds are forced to dilute their shareholding by 10 per cent as a result of the exercise,” he said, adding MAHB had also raised a debt of RM3.1 billion in 2010. Kong, however, said in January that his ministry was not involved in the decision to shift sites as it was decided by MAHB alone.