Monday, April 21, 2008

Daylight Train Robbery

(Source: Screenshots)

The 'notorious' reporting duo of Terence Fernandez and R. Nadeswaran from the Sun disclosed today, here, that passengers who depart from KL International Airport (KLIA) have been paying an additional RM2 to RM6 in airport tax for the last 6 years – no thanks to a lopsided deal between the government and Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERLSB) which operates the Express Rail Link (ERL). The KLIA Express connects KL Sentral and KLIA. In simple words, departing airline passengers have been made to pay for or subsidise the service even if they do not use the ERL. (Read also Nadeswaran's column on this, here.)

It is learnt that the rationale behind the 30-year concession agreement signed in 1997 with ERLSB, where YTL Corporation is a major stake holder, was to ensure a return on investment for the service which started in 2002. KLIA handled about 25 million passengers last year and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) about 8 million. “Half of these figures were departing passengers, which means ERL would be receiving in the region of RM80 million a year,” said a source.

So the ERL wasnt exactly a viable enterprise by itself at the outset, was it?

YTL Corporation's boss Francis Yeoh (photo) was also in the news recently (read Jeff Ooi's 'Francis Yeoh and his urgent train' on 15 April, here) when he was quoted by the NST as saying that his RM10 billion KL-Singapore bullet train, first proposed some years ago, is "economically viable, so I think the government will listen to the people and put this project on an urgent basis again."

People? He must mean us poor unsuspecting beggars.

A "little bird" told me that a team of local and foreign consultants engaged by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for a major study on a national transport policy a few years ago during the previous administration, had concluded then that the bullet train project is not viable. Perhaps Francis is simply trying his luck again. Indeed, human greed has no bounds. (Read also a Petpositive comment, here)

(Footnote: Both Nadeswaran a.k.a. Citizen Nades and YB Jeff Ooi will be guest speakers at B.U.M. 2008 on Thursday 1 May 2008).

Update 23 April: Malaysiakini reports, here, that YTL's proposed KL-Singapore bullet train project has been scrapped.


  1. how much does his IPP make?am told the charges are the highest.
    well, he can praise god coz he got the best deal in town. doesnt really matter how he got it. and we all know the people are paying for it. and a dollar is just nothing for him but to the poor, it means everything. toobad, every sunday, he can still say "praise to god and without him i cant be enjoying such a good life. my buddy paparotti may be gone...."
    i puke when i hear that just like jeff ooi said.

  2. Dear AM,

    This is one good reason why we should be more cautious with all mega projects (deals?).

    Who knows in future all property taxes may includes a portion paying towards a project like proposed KL-SGR bullet train?

  3. Friends,

    I can understand that man with the rash of dot.cons on his face being involved in this shady, seedy con of the people. After all that is what almost all Malaysia's tokoh korporat are adept at; and they think they deserve all the company perks like the gleaming mercs, bungalows in all the damansaras, and an island thrown in just for good measure, because they are really good businessmen. So what is wrong with regularly throwing the good Lord and Jesus' names to show your honesty, god-fearingness, and moral credentials. The sweating masses are, after all, so easily suckered, hence they deserve to be ripped off by such patricians.

    But for Tabung Haji (40% stake in ERLSB) to sleep with such slimeballs, aiding and abetting this grand theft from the people, really hurts.

    Somehow, the Haj I did in 2002 now just seems so tainted.

    Even when you try to keep your hands clean, these crooks have a way of ensuring you get them as grimy, grubby, and filthy as theirs.

  4. Hi Captain Yusof,

    Sorry, this comment no kaitan with your posting...

    Just dropping by to say it was nice meeting your during MRT yesterday, that's all...

    Hope to see you round some time soon!

  5. great news isnt it now that the silver bullet is put to rest.
    and so it should be for other sweetheart deals given by mahatir, in particular monopolies. as in other countries, the service from any monopoly is atrocious. an example, i am experiencing. i paid 6 months in advance in feb for astro connection from dec to june. you know what? they have disconnected my service no less than 10 times. reason? i didnt pay for my jan and feb bills. goodness gracious, I PAID IN ADVANCE AND IS CLEARLY FOR DEC TO JUNE.
    each time, i call their customer service, they promise that it will be rectified. tonite's disconnection is the last straw. I TOLD THEM to terminate the subscription immediately and refund me the balance for may and june plus the nights disconnected. she has the cheek to tell me, "sir, i will try my best and maybe 4 weeks later you will get your cheque. btw, we are nice enough not to charge you for the reconnection fee".
    thats what monopoly can do to you. charge me for reconnection fee when the disconnection was wrong in the first place. ah, at least this MINISTER has some sense to stop ASTRO from offering more channels until they improve their billing and broadcasting system. and the previous MCMC (blur king) head is gone for he is a good for nothing and doesnt even lift a finger to investigate the scam perpetrated by telcos, 012 included. Remember Jeff ooi"s articles?
    the governemnt must put their foot down and stop this big corporates from taking the customers for a ride.

  6. Same on you Francis!! Shame on You!

  7. capt., wasn't this an old story, similiar to the one spun on Senai Airport and PTP. We all know the REAL CULPRIT behind all these games ! He flew the Jolly Roger flag and still refused to call it a day.He would continue to hamtam AAB for releasing DSAI. And now this joker has got the audacity to REpropose this project again. If he is so sure, why ask for Gomen backing?? Hey! Crony. your God-father had gone! Kaput! Don't tell me he had already changed to a new God-father?


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