Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PKR calls for freeze on MRT plans

PKR calls for freeze on MRT plans (TMI)

By Clara Chooi
March 08, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — PKR demanded today that the government temporarily shelve its plans to build the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system pending the formation of a parliamentary select committee to oversee details of the project.

Party vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar told a press conference in Parliament today that this was because the MRT, touted as the most expensive construction project in the country to date, was mired in too many questions regarding its cost estimate and the selection of its project delivery partner (PDP).

The Lembah Pantai MP questioned the government’s selection of Gamuda-MMC as the PDP, claiming that she had information that Scomi Group Berhad had proposed to construct a similar rail system at a lower cost.

“We heard from reliable sources that Scomi has given a proposal for a similar public transport project in Kuala Lumpur for RM25 billion.

“We ask the government to clarify and, if indeed this is true, to state why their proposal was rejected in favour of Gamuda-MMC,” she said.

Initial estimates from Gamuda-MMC have placed the cost of the three-line MRT system at a whopping RM36.6 billion, making it the most expensive construction project ever undertaken by the government.

According to regulators Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), the project will be wholly funded by the government through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to be set up by the Finance Ministry.

“We are aware that the MRT is the single largest public infrastructure project in Malaysia and while its realisation will bring benefits to Klang Valley residents, the project is still mired with too many questions.

“The cost of the MRT may even balloon to four times that of the (RM12.5 billion) Port Klang Free Zone project. Furthermore, there is the lack of integration plans to the present rail system,” said Nurul Izzah (picture).

She added that Gamuda-MMC’s experience was in “rail-based and tunnelling”, which was insufficient compared to Scomi.

“Scomi is one of only two integrated monorail system providers in the world to offer end-solutions including the design, fabrication and integration of the monorail rolling stock and related electromechanical systems,” she said.

She added that Scomi was also a Malaysian firm that has been successful in its bids for projects in the Middle East, South America and Asia Pacific.

“I am not promoting them here but if they are cheaper, why were they not considered by the government?

“Hence, on behalf of PKR, we want a stop-work order issued on the project and a parliamentary select committee formed to oversee details of the MRT.

“We want to make sure that the best proposal presented is the best one implemented,” she said.

The MRT system is an entry-point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) and aims to increase public transport modal share from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

With the 40 per cent public transport modal share, the government hopes that at least four million trips of the estimated total of 10 million are made via public transport.

The remaining six million trips will continue to be made via private vehicles.

The Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line, the first of three lines in the project, is estimated to have a daily ridership of 442,000 passengers in its opening year, expected to be in 2016.

The SBK alignment map is up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to feedback@kvmrt.com.my or through the SPAD toll-free line at 1-800-82-6868