Malaysia Dateline

Datuk Raja Bahrin Shah today questioned Malaysia Airports MAHB claim that klia2 was not a low cost terminal

Low or high cost? Raja Bahrin has a different tagline for AirAsia

Amanah’s Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Raja Bahrin Shah today questioned Malaysia Airports’ (MAHB) claim that klia2 was not a low-cost terminal, saying this contradicted the government’s claim despite cost revisions during its construction which spiralled up to RM4 billion.

“If MAHB’s latest statement that it is not a low cost terminal is true, than what are all the low cost airlines doing there?” asked Raja Bahrin, agreeing with AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes that klia2 was a “frankenstein” airport due to its changing status.

MAHB managing director Datuk Badlisham Ghazali had ealier defended the passenger service charge (PSC) at klia2, saying it was lower than most other major airports in Asdia.

“So, should I also call KLIA (a) low-cost travel (airport) and KLIA2 (a) lowest-cost travel (terminal)?

“But one thing is for sure – it is not a low-cost terminal,” Badlisham told The Edge recently.

This led Fernandes to remark that the airport has an identity crisis.

“Yes, our terminal was not a low-cost terminal while it was supposed to be. A Frankenstein terminal was built, neither premium or low cost, where the problems are huge,” he said in a Facebook post.

Raja Bahrin said he could understand the AirAsia boss’s frustration, saying the government’s incoherent policy and wasteful spending were in the way of efforts to woo tourists.

“Perhaps Tony should change Air Asia’s tag line of ‘now everyone can fly’ to ‘now everyone can cry’,” he quipped, and recalled the spate of cost revisions during construction of klia2.

He said opposition MPs had repeatedly demanded answers in Parliament why a budget terminal that was supposed to cost RM1.7 billion had rocketed to RM4 billion.

“Nobody from the Government seemed to care or bother to give a satisfactory explaination,” he added.

“But the government still insisted it is a low cost terminal! But now the MAHB Managing Director contradicts the Government by confirming it is not a low cost terminal.

“No wonder the rakyat is confused and fed up.”

The present dispute is over AirAsia’s move to rebrand klia2 as LCCT2.

It wants to promote KLIA2 as a low-cost carrier hub for the Asia region with a RM20 million marketing campaign, while MAHB said it was against the idea of having klia2 renamed.

Passengers departing KLIA pay a PSC of RM65 for international flights and RM9 for domestic flights.

While at KLIA2, the fee is RM32 and RM6 respectively.

The average for major Asian airports is about RM78 per passenger.