A TOTAL of RM1.86bil in taxes was collected from airports from 2004 to last year, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
The money was used to bear the cost of running the airports, including paying workers’ emolument, utilities, upgrading equipment and administration, he said.
All the airports, except the Sultan Ismail International Airport in Johor, are managed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).
The Sultan Ismail airport is managed by Senai Airport Terminal Services Sdn Bhd, Ong told Azmin Ali (PKR - Gombak).
Taxes collected from KL International Airport last year amounted to RM292mil compared with RM200mil in 2004 while the Sultan Ismail airport collected RM11.4mil last year (RM7.4mil in 2004), according to the statistics provided.
Taxes collected from other airports totalled RM143mil last year (RM105mil in 2004).
Asked why a big portion of the tax collection was used to bear the privatised KLIA Express service owned by ERL Sdn Bhd, Ong said it was not true as only a small portion of the government funds was used.
For example, he said, RM5 of the RM51 paid in passenger service charge would go to ERL. The charge was in force since 2002 and the concession agreement is for 30 years.
However, since April 1 last year, the Treasury began to reimburse the amount to MAHB, Ong said.
“This is in line with Marginal Cost Support Scheme with the purpose of helping MAHB,” he said, adding that the specific amount returned to MAHB would be given through a written reply.
Ong told reporters later that the payment to ERL was necessary because the rail company was finding it difficult to cover its initial expenditure and maintenance costs. “We were given to understand that since the start of the low-cost carrier terminal two years ago, the situation had deteriorated,” he said, adding that payment by MAHB was a way for ERL to recover the costs despite the fact that not everyone who paid airport tax used the rail service.
“This is the formula that MAHB has come up with,” he said, adding that ERL never received any form of monetary aid from the Government.
To a supplementary question by Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut (PAS - Kuala Terengganu) on why the Government used special funds from the oil royalty that was supposed to be paid to Terengganu for upgrading works at Sultan Mahmud Airport in Kuala Terengganu and not from the airport tax from MAHB, Ong said the question should be posed to the Finance Minister because it was linked with oil royalty.
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