KUALA LUMPUR: Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) wants Economics Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali to provide evidence for claims that the High Speed Rail (HSR) will cost taxpayers an estimated RM110bil.
According to Wee, studies conducted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies under the previous Barisan Nasional Government had provided an estimated cost RM54bil to RM74bil.
"So our question is, how did the estimated RM74bil figure suddenly become RM110bil?" asked Dr Wee.
He added that Azmin had explained that this was due to "additional costs".
"We want to know what he meant by additional costs," he said to reporters at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday (July 18).
Earlier, Azmin, in response to a question from Datuk Seri Najib Razak during Question Time in Parliament, said that the RM110bil figure is an estimated cost of the HSR.
Najib had questioned how the Government arrived at the RM110bil figure when international tenders for the 350km-long project will only end in December.
Azmin said that his ministry and the Finance Ministry arrived at the figure and explained that it was "just costing" at this point.
Dr Wee stressed that any statement given by the Government must be backed by scientific studies.
"Even if you want to take into consideration the interest costs and financial packages, you still have to get the details before you can estimate the cost," he said.
The MCA deputy president also questioned Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's recent statement that the Government could halve the HSR construction cost to RM55bil.
"I just want to know what scientific study was done? If it's not … this only means that the figure is based on assumptions or gut feelings," he said.
Dr Wee also took a swipe at Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for taking a "U-turn" on his decision to scrap the HSR.
"The PM himself said on May 28 that the HSR would be cancelled … but when he visited Japan on June 12, he said that we should go ahead with the project.
"This means that within 14 days, the Government can make such a big 'U-turn'," he added.
The HSR is a 350km railway linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and is expected to start operations from 2026.
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