KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26, 2015:
Controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) has slammed former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed over the dealings during the latter’s premiership which the blogger claimed to have led to exorbitant fares for Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) users, even though the developers had profited from the project long ago.
In a posting on Malaysia Today yesterday, Raja Petra pointed out a letter from the Finance Ministry to Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB) in 1997 in which a memorandum from the former premier had instructed MAHB to pay Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd a portion of the airport tax for both domestic and international travellers.
The portion of airport duty gained from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), he claimed, also included budget carrier terminal klia2.
The MAHB payment to ERL, he said, started on the very first day of its operation until the end of the 30-year concession period and would increase by 10% every five years until the concession ended.
This, he said, meant that sooner or later, KLIA and klia2 would have to increase the airport tax to cover this ever-increasing payment to ERL.
Under the concession agreement, the ERL fare (separate from the airport tax) can be increased to RM97 by the year 2019 and then to RM126 by the year 2024 (compared with RM35 currently and RM55 next year).
“If this increase is not allowed, the government will have to pay billions in compensation to ERL,” Raja Petra claimed in the posting.
Based on the agreed rates and payments from MAHB, he said ERL had forecast revenues of more than RM1 billion per year from next year and RM2.5 billion a year in 2027.
“This is actually quite substantial considering the entire construction cost of RM2.4 billion was inflated and YTL already made a huge profit on the construction job long ago,” Raja Petra claimed.
“Furthermore, there is a provision for YTL to extend the ERL concession for another 30 years, which means they are going to continue to print money long after the YTL bosses are dead and rotting in their graves,” he further alleged.
Raja Petra also took Dr Mahathir to task for writing the racially-charged The Malay Dillemma but then going on to contradict his statements when he came into power.
“…if Dr Mahathir meant what he wrote and said 45 years ago, we would not be seeing Dr Mahathir collaborating and conspiring with the Chinese tycoons to rip off the country ‘kau-kau’.
“And then the Chinese whack Article 153 (of the Federal Constitution) and the New Economic Policy (NEP) when it is the Chinese millionaires who turned into billionaires behind the veil of the NEP,” he alleged.