In-depth audit on cost of klia2

SEPANG: The government will conduct an audit to address claims that the cost of building klia2 has ballooned to over RM4 billion, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said getting the new low-cost carrier terminal up and running was the priority earlier, but now that it is operational the government will look into what has led to the cost increase.

“We have solved the teething [operational] issues. After this, we can look at [claims of] higher cost and so forth,” Hishammuddin told reporters after the official launch of klia2 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here yesterday.

“I think we can start looking at it now since it [klia2] is operational,” he said.  However, he declined to give a timeline for the government to finalise the construction cost of klia2.

“What I did not want [earlier] was these issues jeopardising the [terminal’s opening] timeline and its operation … jeopardising the public’s usage of the terminal.

“There were people out there who wanted to use these issues to stop the public from using the terminal,” said Hishammuddin, adding that he would not allow these people to demonise an iconic project.

klia2 was opened on May 2 after repeated delays and higher cost which had ballooned from an initial RM1.9 billion to some RM4 billion mainly due to changes to the design of the terminal. Its major tenant, AirAsia Bhd, started flying out of klia2 on May 9.

“Now with Badlisham there, I told him to be more transparent,” Hishammuddin said, referring to Datuk Badlisham Ghazali who took over from Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad as managing director of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) beginning Monday. Bashir has taken on the role as adviser to the airport operator.

Badlisham, who was also present at the launch, said besides looking into safety aspects of the terminal, he aims to forge a better working relationship with airlines.

“In any business, there are always differences in opinions. They [airlines] are in business and so are we [MAHB], but both of our businesses are delighting our customers,” he said when asked on MAHB’s relationship with AirAsia.

(From left) Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) director Tan Sri Bashir Ahmad, Hishammuddin, Najib, MAHB chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah and managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali at the official launch of klia2 in Sepang yesterday.

Since klia2 was opened for commercial operations on May 2, klia2 has handled more than two million passengers and 17,000 aircraft movements.

klia2 is the world’s largest purpose-built terminal for low-cost carriers with a capacity to serve up to 45 million passengers annually.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 24, 2014.


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