Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pre-qualified bidders for MRT tunnelling project

KVMRT has get the news on the pre-qualified bidders for MRT tunnelling project. Only one Malaysian company, Gamuda-MMC is in the run with five other foreign bidders.

Gamuda-MMC faces lower bids from pre-qualified bidders for MRT tunnelling project (The Star)

PETALING JAYA: The front runner for the mass rapid transit (MRT) tunnelling project – the Gamuda Bhd-MMC Corp Bhd joint venture – may be put in a tough spot to match the lower bids from some of the pre-qualified bidders, industry sources said.

Yesterday a financial newspaper reported that five companies had been pre-qualified for the project, including Gamuda-MMC, China’s Sinohydro Group Ltd, South Korea’s SK Holdings and two other parties from China and Japan.

Gamuda-MMC was the only local company shortlisted.

Reliable sources have confirmed this.

In an e-mail reply to StarBizWeek, Gamuda said: “We have not been informed of being shortlisted.” It didn’t reply to other questions in the e-mail.

The tunnelling works for the MRT is estimated to cost RM7bil and the financial newspaper reported that the pre-qualified parties had three months to submit their bids.

It had been reported that the project delivery partner (PDP) of the MRT project, Gamuda-MMC, would have the upper hand in bidding for the job as it was given the right to match the lowest offer from other bidders for the tunnelling job under the Swiss challenge system (Gamuda-MMC has to match the lowest bid to win).

However, bidders from China are said to pose a threat to Gamuda-MMC due to their expertise and experience in tunnelling jobs as well as having the financial muscles to undertake the project.

A reliable source added that local parties have a price advantage of between 3.5% to 7.5%, depending on the level of local and bumiputra equity participation in the project.

“However even with this price advantage, Gamuda-MMC could still be hard-pressed to match the pricing of some of the other bidders,” an industry source said.

Meanwhile OSK Research pointed out that while there was a risk of the other four pre-qualified names “under-cutting in their bids, we believe the local JV (Gamuda-MMC) still has an edge.”

“As the MRT is funded by the Government, we believe it would like to keep the job largely in the hands of local contractors.

“Furthermore Pemandu (Performance Management and Delivery Unit) had also previously stated that under the Economic Transformation Programme, the awarding of contracts to foreigners would also depend on whether these would have a positive impact on the GNI (gross national income).”

OSK expected Gamuda-MMC to be prequalified for the project, “given Gamuda’s experience with the Penchala Tunnel, Smart Tunnel and Kaohsiung MRT.”

The research house said it expected the award to be made by the end of the first quarter of next year.

What is the criteria?
That maybe the most important question. To who government will awards the project package? The Malaysian government in awarding the jobs will have to weigh whether to go for the cheapest bid or for a higher one by a local player.

“There is no right or wrong, it’s just a matter of priorities,” the industry player said.

Global practices
“In most countries there are mechanisms to prevent foreign bidders from winning jobs, or even bidding. But don’t look at Hong Kong and Singapore, they have different economic models,” an industry player said. The barrier to entry for foreign companies can take many forms, from simple methods such as work permits or visas to more complex mechanisms.

In the European Union (EU) for instance, only EU-based companies are allowed to participate in EU Cohesion Fund projects.

It is the same for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) loans, where it is understood that only Japanese companies will benefit from this funding.

Thailand requires that all tenders for the Bangkok MRT Blue Line are 51% led by local contractors.

“In China, a company must be incorporated there, in China, and must have completed at least three jobs. This is a chicken and egg situation. It would be great if local companies gain the expertise and can take their expertise abroad, much like the building of highways,” an industry player said.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Klang Bus Stand to close November 1

KVMRT take note of this article that should be attention to the public. Starting from November 1, iconic Klang bus stand (Pasarama Kota) will cease its operation. All buses currently based over there will be relocated to Pudu Sentral and Jalan Sultan Mohamed.

Klang Bus Stand to cease operations (The Star)

Thursday October 20, 2011

BEGINNING its operation in the 70s to serve the transportation needs of Klang Valley travellers, the Pasarama Kota or better known as the Klang Bus Stand in Kuala Lumpur will be closed from Nov 1 to make way for the construction of the MY Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

All bus services operating from inside the bus terminal will cease operations after the departure for their last trip on Oct 31 and begin operating from new designated locations the following day.

One bus company operating from Jalan Sultan outside Pasarama Kota will also relocate its operations.

Iconic structure: The Klang Bus Stand will soon make way for  the MRT project

All passengers heading to Klang, Port Klang and Banting will have to board their buses at Pudu Sentral (formerly known as Puduraya) beginning Nov 1, after the relocation.

These buses will not be allowed to pick up passengers from any other bus stop in the city centre.

The closure of Pasarama Kota is to facilitate the construction of the new underground Pasar Seni MRT station.

The new MRT station will integrate with the existing Pasar Seni LRT station where passengers can switch from the LRT to the MRT and vice-versa without needing to leave the system or buy new tickets.

Upon completion of the MRT project in 2016, a new bus terminal is expected to be constructed at this location.

Built in the 1970s, the Klang bus station has changed different managements throughout resulting in one reason why it was not properly developed.

However, the symbolic bus stand was an important hub that provided intracity transportation for routes in and around the Klang Valley.

A Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) spokesman said it would release further details concerning the relocation in the weeks to come.

SPAD also apologises for any inconvenience caused to commuters and the public.

Commuters can from the respective bus operators — RapidKL: 03-7885 2585, Cityliner: 03-5512 9434 and Causeway Link: 07-360 2244.

Other related news:
Transport operators, commuters unhappy over Klang Bus Stand closure (Malay Mail)

Monday, October 17, 2011

KTM will pay for delays

KTM will pay for delays (The Star)

By Farah Fazanna Zulzaha

Tuesday October 18, 2011

PETALING JAYA: To repair its battered image of late trains, KTM Komuter will give its passengers a full refund for trips that are delayed by more than 30 minutes.

“We had revised the policy since last year although not many people are aware of this,” said KTM Komuter acting general manager Mohd Hider Yusoff.

Previously, the rail company gave refunds only when trains were delayed by more than two hours.

“We are committed to providing good service to our customers. If we can't get the trains to be on time, we are giving the option for a refund,” he said.

While this is a better deal than offered by some airlines, travellers are not impressed, saying “it is not about the money”.

Most airlines have rules for cancelled and delayed flights caused by the company but often ask passengers to make appeals for compensation.

Depending on the flight distance and length of delay, some airlines provide passengers with free meals, drinks and compensation up to a stipulated amount, among others.

Nevertheless, like the plane passengers, train commuters here said while refunds were acceptable, they just wanted to get to their destinations on time.

HR executive Izzaty Halim, 23, said: “When they have train problems, perhaps, as an alternative, the company can provide shuttle buses or other alternative means of transportation.”

Private sector worker Fatin Aqila Abdul Mutalib, 23, said:“They should give more attention to upgrading services. The refund is an easy way out.”

Universiti Teknologi Mara Nur Haniz Nor, 21, said: “It would be better for the trains to be on time. Even if I ask for a refund, I would have been late.”

HELP University student Kavithah Rakwan said: “As an impatient person, I would take the refund and take a cab rather than wait for the train.”

Engineering student Aidilf Nordin, 23, said: “There are insufficient coaches, especially during rush hours. The refunds will not make much difference because I would have still lost at least 30 minutes.”

A frequent commuter, who declined to be named, said: “Last month, I had to wait for an hour. In the end, I took a cab. I would not bother to ask for a refund if that would require me queuing up and result in a further waste of time.”

Another regular said he had experienced frequent delays over the past two months. “Announcements are made over the PA system but most of the time the message cannot be clearly heard.”