Sunday, May 22, 2011

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.