Auditor-General’s 2012 Report (15)
by Aidila Razak
Oct 2, 2013
AUDIT REPORT Malaysian motorists are not the ones who have to dodge potholes on a daily basis.
Pilots landing aircraft at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, the auditor-general has found, had to deal with 599 potholes in the runway and taxiway, until these were fixed.
Worse, a pilot quoted in the Auditor-General’s Report 2012 complained of difficulty in landing in poor weather, “especially in haze”, as the Instruments Landing System (ILS) has yet to be installed after being bought in June 2008.
The unnamed pilot, who flies with national carrier Malaysia Airlines, told the audit team that the ILS is required for all commercial airlines, and that its absence endangers passenger safety.
The Transport Ministry has countered that the ILS “does not affect the safety of aircraft operations” and that many airports in the world do not have such a system.
Happily, however, the 599 potholes had been patched up as at May 2012 by contractor Global Upline Sdn Bhd (GUSB), although its services were later terminated due to chronic non-performance.
According to the report, GUSB was appointed via direct negotiation for Package 2 of the project, worth RM720 million.
Package 2 was supposed to be completed within 36 months, ending on April 20, 2009, but was not delivered despite more than 1,000 days in extensions of time,
GUSB only completed 1.6 percent of Package 2 in 2010. In 2011, it completed 3.6 percent – a difference of only 2 percent within a year.
The auditor-general said GUSB claimed to face financial constraints, due to an unexpected price hike and risks in earthworks. A sub-contractor also complained of not being paid for seven months.
But this excuse was rejected by the Transport Ministry, which said USB only managed to complete a little more than half of the work by December 2012, resulting in its services being terminated.
For example, in July 2012, the audit team found large puddles at the apron taxiway and parking apron bay as the area was not paved to specifications.
GUSB was also found to have not properly maintained the water pumps which were meant to pump out water from areas like the taxiway, which is prone to flooding.
The remainder of the work will be completed by a newly appointed contractor.
‘Be firm with AirAsia’
However, the auditor-general found that GUSB had tried to fix the edger light electricity cables on the runway on Oct 5 and 6, even though it was not part of its job scope.
It did not manage to do so due to frequent plane landings, resulting the eventual runway shutdown on Oct 25 and 26 which left 6,000 passengers stranded.
The list of problems with the KKIA project also included environmental and social issues, with construction causing erosion at the nearby beach.
The auditor-general stressed that the ministry should be stern with AirAsia and push the airline to move to Terminal 1 of the airport as agreed, and not continue to use Terminal 2.
However, the ministry explained that AirAsia had not moved to Terminal 1 as two taxiways were still under construction and accommodating this would have added to the airline’s operational costs.
It said the taxiways are due to be ready this year, and that it will urge AirAsia to move “immediately” then.