Why is Tony unhappy? — Lim Mun Fah

DEC 2 — Many people are asking why AirAsia CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes is not happy with KLIA2.

The construction of KLIA2 was started in 2009 and 42 per cent of it has now been completed. It is said to be the world’s largest low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) catering for 45 million passengers once it is fully operational.

Some people might see it as the best example of the Malaysia Boleh spirit.

However, one after another of negative news is being heard before its completion.

Firstly, the project’s completion has been delayed by six month from its original dateline.

Secondly, the construction area has been extended, resulting in skyrocketing costs from RM2 billion to RM3.9 billion.

We do not know the reason behind the decision to expand the KLIA2 project but what is certain is, the soaring costs will ultimately be borne by consumers.

The increase of airport tax serves as the best example here.

Tony openly opposed the increase of airport tax based on a very simple reason, he said on Twitter: “Airport taxes are paid by Malaysians and passengers. The money doesn’t go to AirAsia but MAHB (Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd).”

According to earlier reports, AirAsia’s proposal to build a new low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT) costing RM1.6 billion in Labu, Negri Sembilan was rejected. It was rumoured that although the project was rejected, AirAsia had successfully fought for lower LCCT airport charges.

If the rumour were true, it would then be understandable why Tony is so angry, causing him to accuse MAHB of making too many empty promises.

Tony is not a politician. As an entrepreneur, it is understandable for him to view things from a business point of view. The problem is, would the authorities listen to his unpleasant words?

The opposition have criticised KLIA2 as a grandiose project because the country appears to have no need for an enormous second international airport. This episode reminds us of the controversial KLIA-KL Sentral baggage handling system.

The baggage handling system was estimated to cost RM92.4 million but “various factors” doubled the cost to RM186 million! And the system is still not fully operational three years after completion due to issues over charges. So far, usage has been a mere 25 per cent.

If KLIA2 meets the same fate as a project meant only for development without due consideration of cost and returns, the price will again be borne by the people! — mysinchew.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.