Sunday, May 22, 2011

Malay Chamber asked MRT project

Give us RM36b MRT project, says Malay Chamber (Bernama)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia has asked the government to hand over the RM36 billion Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, the country's biggest infrastructure project, to the chamber.

[KVMRT: What do they mean by ask government to hand over the project? Are they qualified for this?]

The chamber says it will undertake the mega project in collaboration with other contractors' associations.

"We'll implement the whole project in collaboration with other contractors' associations on a joint-venture basis or acquiring the companies involved in the massive project," said chamber president Syed Ali Alatas.

He said the project, currently managed by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB), had imposed several conditions to companies intending to bid for the project and the conditions seemed difficult for Bumiputera contractors to participate in the project.

Among the conditions that seemed to block opportunities to Bumiputeras are stopping them to team up with any company at any stage and must have at least RM10 million paid-up capital, he told a media conference when giving feedback from the chamber's members on the MRT slated for completion in 2020 in tandem with the Vision 2020 deadline to transform Malaysia into an advanced nation.

With the tough conditions stipulated by SPNB, Syed Ali said that only 37 companies or Bumiputera contractors would be able to bid for the project of the 16,000 members of the Malay Contractors' Association of Malaysia.

Association president Datuk Mokhtar Samad, who was present at the media conference, said the association urged the government to re-visit the conditions to enable more Malay contractors or Bumiputeras to part take in the project.

"We hope the government will allow joint ventures or to set up consortiums by Bumiputera contractors to enable them to be involved in the project," he said.

"We are now holding on to the assurance given by SPNB Group managing director Shahril Mokhtar that Bumiputera contractors will not be lift out from participating in the massive development project," he added.

Perkasa 'interested' in MRT

MMC-Gamuda blocking Bumi companies in MRT project, says Perkasa

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

April 21, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — There’s an “evil” attempt by MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd to deny Bumiputera contractors opportunities in the Klang Valley mass rapid transit (MRT) project, several Malay groups allege.

Perkasa, along with NGOs of Bumiputera entrepreneurs, today accused the project delivery partner (PDP) for the MRT project of enforcing “strict” conditions which disallowed Bumiputera participation and only benefitted “rich Non-bumis.”

“Perkasa along with Bumiputera NGOs feel as though tight conditions are purposely being enforced by MMC-Gamuda Prasarana also playing a part in this project or not?

“What is Prasarana’s role? What we can see now is that the package for the MRT construction is being looted and monopolised by MMC-Gamuda and Bumiputera contractors have absolutely no chance to take part,” said Perkasa economic director Dr Zubir Harun.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) a fully-owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, was appointed the infrastructure owner of the project while the Land Public Transport Commission was the supervising authority for the project.

Zubir said that Prasarana had on March 30 this year come out with additional criteria for the project, which has since then become the “subject of frustration” of many Bumiputera contractors.

The criteria, according to Zubir were:

• contractors taking part in the project tender are forbidden from forming joint ventures or consortium;

• companies of contractors are forbidden from forming any joint ventures with foreign companies in the tender of the project;

•The formation of a consortium of two or more companies is strictly forbidden;

“The conditions have shut out the chances for Bumiputera companies to take part in the project tender.

“Prasarana also included a condition of bond payment amounting to RM300,000 at the pre-qualification can Bumiputera contractors come up with this figure without forming consortium or joint ventures?” said Zubir.

“MMC-Gamuda itself is a joint venture...most big scale government projects are, why not this?” Zubir added.

He said that the existing requirements were a direct contradiction of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s New Economic Model (NEM) and urged Najib himself as finance minister to withdraw the conditions immediately.

“A lot of Bumiputera contractors have been thirsty for this project, by doing this it goes against the NEM because Bumis aren’t given equal opportunity.

“We give Prasarana, the government seven days to answer our demands...Najib listens to Perkasa, he understands our concerns. If we do not see any action, we will consider it as a violation of the federal constitution under Article 153 , bumiputera rights,” said Zubir.

The total project cost for the MRT was estimated at RM36.6 billion for three rail lines through the Klang Valley when it was first proposed two years ago but that projection did not include cost of land and also rolling stock for the MRT.

SPNB had also not finalised the financing and project manager’s fees for the MRT although planning has started for initial civil engineering work to begin in November.

Regulator Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) had said the Finance Ministry has set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to raise funds for the project but had admitted the method has yet to be determined.

The SPNB chief had also said some 100 firms have applied for pre-qualification for the 16 packages in the elevated part of the 51km-long MRT; the deadline for pre-qualification ended on April 13.

The MRT is the country’s biggest infrastructure project and also the largest National Key Economic Area (NKEA) project under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s New Economic Model (NEM).

The massive project is expected to generate 130,000 jobs during its five-year construction phase. The government hopes that more than half of the population in Greater KL will use the public transport system to prevent traffic congestion.

KVMRT: We expressly disappointed with the remarks from a Malay NGO regarding the strict conditions that bar Bumiputera contractors participation.

It is strongly against the international standard in awarding contract in projects in Malaysia. Perkasa as a NGO should make more effort in understanding the nature of public interest and not to gain political will or media attention.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

KTM relocate to Woodlands on July 1

Tg Pagar railway station to relocate to Woodlands on July 1 (The Star)

SINGAPORE: Come July 1, the KTM railway station in Tanjong Pagar will be relocated to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP).

In this regard, the Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah railway stations will cease all operations on that date, Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a statement.

ICA said that with the closure of the Tanjong Pagar station, all arrival and departure trains would end and start at WTCP.

All passengers travelling to Malaysia by train will need to board trains at the checkpoint in Woodlands.

Passengers arriving from Malaysia will also alight at the WTCP.

Related Stories:
Singapore to preserve two historical railway stations

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jurong East Modification Project

A new platform will be opened at the Jurong East MRT station on Friday 27 May 2011. The platform is part of the Jurong East Modification Project (JEMP). It will enable the deployment of additional trains on the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) to ease crowding and increase capacity.

The new platform will allow five new trains to be deployed on the NSEWL from May 2011. By December 2011, another 17 new trains (on top of the five new trains) will be added, bringing the total number of new trains to 22. This will bring the total number of trains in service on the NSEWL to 128. With this, the carrying capacity on the two lines will expand by 15%. Commuters can look forward to shorter waiting times of 2 to 3 minutes at the busiest stretches, compared to the current 2.5 to 4 minutes.

For a start, from 27 May 2011, the new JEMP platform will be used during the morning peak hours, from 7am to 9am on weekdays (except public holidays), as this is the time period during which Jurong East Station is the most crowded. When more trains are delivered by December 2011, we will also open the platform during the evening peak hours.

Commuters will also be able to enjoy other improvements being made at the Jurong East MRT station. These include an additional entrance and a new passenger drop-off point for commuters working at the International Business Park as well as a pedestrian overhead bridge linking a new private bus pick-up point to the station. About 150 new bicycle racks have also been installed at the new entrance to the station for the convenience of commuters who cycle and ride as part of their daily commute. Please refer to Annex for the location of the new entrance.

Mr Chew Hock Yong, LTA Chief Executive said, "The Jurong East Modification Project introduces a new platform and a new commuter entrance at the Jurong East MRT station. It also involves the injection of 5 new trains from May and a total of 22 new trains by December. It is a major project to improve the capacity of the North-South, East-West Lines. The additional platform will allow more trains to be run at shorter intervals so that commuters can benefit from shorter waiting time and a more comfortable journey. This project is a key part of LTA's plan to significantly enhance Singapore's MRT network."

3D image of the new platform (SMRT image)

Getting Around

Jurong East MRT station is an interchange station providing connections between the North-South and East-West Lines. As with all interchanges, commuters may need to change platforms to transfer to another line.

To get around, commuters only need to remember these four easy steps:

i) Listen to the audio announcements in the train and at the station;

ii) Check the train platform and schedule on the Passenger Information Display screens;

iii) Follow the signs at the concourse and platform to find their way; and

iv) Ask the service ambassadors or staff if they need help.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

KTM Komuter frequency 7.5 mins by Sept

New trains to boost KTM Komuter service in Sept

SEREMBAN (May 12, 2011): The KTM Komuter will receive a boost this September when the first of 38 sets of six-car trains begin service to meet the growth in passenger traffic and also the addition of new routes such as Seremban-Gemas.

KTM Komuter Services General Manager Mohd Hider Yusoff said KTMB Bhd has forked out RM1.9 billion to purchase the trains.

"The first of the commuter trains of six sets with a futuristic design will arrive this year and the rest in 2012," he told reporter during a briefing on the new Seremban-Sungai Gadut commuter route which begins operations on May 14.

He said the trains will use technology from China and two engineers are now in the country to ensure all systems follow the specifications set out by KTM.

Each train set is capable of carrying about 900 passengers and this means KTM has doubled its passenger transport rate.

"We purchased the commuter from the Zelc company in China. Each commuter system can take six trains compared to three previously," he added.

He also said the additional trains would enable KTM to shorten the waiting period from 15 minutes to 10 and to only seven at peak times.

Based on KTM's long-term plan, the Seremban-Sungai Gadut route will be extended to Rembau, Tampin and Batang Melaka before ending in Gemas.

Meanwhile, on the occasion of the launch of the new route, the public are invited use the service free for seven days. — Bernama

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Puduraya is not leaking

Puduraya is not leaking (The Star)

Thursday May 12, 2011

By Bavani M
Photos by P. Nathan

PUDURAYA Terminal operator UDA Mall Sdn Bhd said the flooding incident on Monday was an “unfortunate” and “isolated” incident which occurred when contractors were testing the fire sprinkler system on the mezzanine floor where the ticketing counters were located.

Its senior manager (terminal) Ismail Hassan said maintenace work was being carried out to see if the sprinklers were in working condition.

“This is what happens if you were to remove the sprinkler head; water will come gushing out. Puduraya is not leaking,’’ Ismail stressed.

That’s the one: Ticketing counter employee Azhari Din, 42 pointing to the water sprinkler that leaked on Monday

“It is unfortunate that the footage was posted on Facebook.

“It is normal for water to gush out of the sprinkler when the head is removed,’’ he said, adding that it took his men about 10 to 15 minutes to clear the affected area.

The 33-second footage recorded by a passenger on Monday evening was posted on Facebook.

It showed two sprinkler system with water gushing out.

Two garbage bins were used to contain the water.

The footage posted in the social networking site Facebook and Twitter sparked a myriad of reactions ranging from amusement to anger and sarcasm.

An eyewitness to the incident Norhaslinda Daliyana, 26, who manages the SKS KL counter said the 9pm incident took everyone by surprise.

The ‘culprit’: A close-up shot of the water sprinkler that sprung a leak on Monday.

“There was a loud noice and suddenly water came gushing out of the sprinklers,’’ she said.

“Within seconds the carpet was soaking wet. The contractors tried to contain it, but there was a lot of water,’’ she said.

Mohd Shafie who works with Durian Burung ticketing counter had recorded the incident on his mobile phone.

“It happened so fast, but they managed to fix the problem quickly,’’ said the 22-year-old.

When StarMetro visited the terminal at 10am yesterday, there was no evidence of the leak and business was back to normal.

Ready for business: The terminal is now fully operational.

The 36-year-old terminal was opened on April 16 after undergoing massive renovations costing RM52.7mil.

The opening was delayed several times due to additional work on the base of the building.

It is now fully operational, with only minor glitches here and there.

A check by StarMetro also showed that the lifts are not yet accessible to the public.

MRT reduce cost of cars

THE Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT costing about RM50 billion could be a profitable investment if it leads to a drastic reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads in the Klang Valley.

There will be a proportional decrease in the number of private vehicles as public transport becomes more efficient. Presently, about 500,000 vehicles are sold annually.

If the MRT is successful, this will affect the sales of Proton and Perodua as the number of vehicles sold may be drastically reduced. Will the government accept this?

There is no point investing RM50 billion and not bring down car ownership.

Most families in the Klang Valley have cars as they cannot rely on public transport.

The MRT will make sense if fewer new highways and flyovers are built and roads upgraded as billions of ringgit will be saved and can be used for the MRT, making it a sound investment for the government.

Due to the high cost involved in building the MRT underground, it might have to be limited to certain sections only.

And this means many properties have to be acquired at market price and this will increased the cost of the MRT.

The MRT can only be as good as the feeder service system.

The government should not only rely on buses which are expensive and cause congestion themselves during peak hours but should consider using vans for the feeder service. Vans can carry 10 to 12 passengers, are less expensive, move faster and can even provide door-to-door service in housing estates.

The problem with the LRT and the KTM commuter service is mainly due to poor feeder services which have to addressed by the government for the MRT project.

A feeder service with vans can be owner-operated and will be more reliable.

V. Thomas
Sungai Buloh

KVMRT: We welcomed the feedback by V. Thomas and it was a good argument indeed.