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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Less than RM2b more MRT jobs to be given out

Posted on 7 November 2013 - 05:38am
Liew Jia Teng

PETALING JAYA (Nov 7, 2013): A total of 18 tender packages for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), worth less than RM2 billion, are yet to be awarded, said Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) CEO Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid.

To date, some 80% of 86 tender packages have been awarded by the MRT Corp.

"We have awarded 68 packages at the moment. Another five packages are progressing,while the (remaining) 13 packages are yet to be called," Azhar told reporters in a media briefing here yesterday.

"The 18 tender packages in the pipeline, are relatively smaller compared with awarded tenders but these are important packages too. Its not going to delay us anyway," said Azhar.

The overall progress of the 51km MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line has reached 28.55%, two years after its official launch. The new rail transport system is expected to be fully operational by July 2017.

Based on the awarded tenders, the total construction and system cost for the MRT is about RM23 billion.

If no further changes are made, Azhar said, the cost should remain intact, despite the implementation of goods and services
tax (GST) and a possible hike in construction material prices.

"There is always a concern (on cost-overrun), but so far we have been able to contain that concern. We monitor our risk on a daily basis, to make sure we don't go over the projected cost," Azhar said, although he admitted that no guarantee of zero cost-overruns can be made.

"If I can control the future, I would (guarantee), but I can't. Something may happen beyond my control. All I can do is deliver the project on time," he said.

"If I'm going to over-run the cost, I want to over-run (it) for a good reason, such as spending more money to give something better to the people as well as giving benefit to the rakyat, instead of over-run to do the same thing," Azhar said.

He said the implementation of GST in 2015 would come at the tail-end of the procurement period for the MRT project, ensuring that there would be minimal impact to cost.

"By that time, we (would have) awarded and done most packages as all prices would have been agreed on. So I think we are fortunate enough to just escape from that (GST)," said Azhar.

On the possible rise of construction materials cost, he said extra cost would be borne by the contractors.

"If there is a severe price escalation, the contractors might appeal, but this will not cause a cost over-run for the whole MRT project," he said.

Azhar said that MRT Corp has created an electronic trading system for the central procurement of steel, which allows all contractors to purchase steel at the same price.

"Cost over-run will only happen if the contractors are not being efficient, or they try to do something they shouldn't," said Azhar.

In that case, he said, the project delivery partner for the MRT line, MMC-Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd will have to bear the cost and be penalised.

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