PETALING JAYA: Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) is expected to start awarding contracts for the various packages of the RM23bil Mass Rapid Transit line 2 (MRT2) in the last quarter of this year.
Contractors who handled jobs in the first phase of the MRT (MRT1) would hold an advantage due to their experience in carrying out the works on the first line.
“Also, many of the contractors did not get the expected returns and profits from MRT1 works due to various reasons,” says a contractor.
The MRT2 project, which was given priority in the revised Budget 2015, was expected to ground break in the first quarter of next year, according to MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Seri Shahril Mokhtar.
Details are still being firmed up. But MRT2 will be the second main urban rail artery linking Sungai Buloh via Serdang to Putrajaya with about 40 stations and will complement MRT1 which is more than halfway to completion.
So far only MMC-Gamuda have been appointed the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for MRT2.
For MRT1, the joint venture of MMC-Gamuda was appointed the PDP and their job is to ensure that the project gets done within time and budget. The PDP did not participate in any tender for works above the ground such as construction of stations or civil works to build the infrastructure.
But MMC-Gamuda was awarded the job to build the underground tunnels – which is the most expensive portion of the entire MRT1.
Sharil said that for MRT2, although existing contractors would have the advantage it was not certain that the companies would be rewarded in MRT2.
“For example, if Gamuda and MMC are proven to have good track record in their maiden MRT underground works, they would be given a number of ‘stars’ based on our strict merit system, but this is not an absolute assurance for them to be the winner as there are many other criteria that could influence the total weighted score,” said Shahril.
An analyst said that most short to medium-term investors would likely stay on the sidelines for now. The impact of MRT2 on MMC and Gamuda, the two companies that have a role in the job for certain, has already been reflected in their current valuations.
“The trick is to invest in less notable construction counters with unexpected ‘stars’, said the analyst.
At this juncture, Shahril, who was “promoted” to assume bigger responsibility at MRT Corp from Prasarana Negara Bhd since Jan 1, confirmed the recent news that the pre-qualification exercise to shortlist prospective tenderers for major MRT2 packages would start in the third quarter of this year.
“We will shortlist the pre-qualified candidates based on general checks on their technical know-how and financial standing. When the tenders are out and re-submitted to bid for jobs we then will do thorough checks on the bidders’ financial, technical know-how and the quality of their previous jobs under a stringent process not much different from the evaluation process in Line 1,” he said.
On the alignment, Shahril said MRT Corp was currently waiting for the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) to approve the submitted proposed alignment, thus he reasoned it would be premature to share the key details now.
“However, we plan to have the three-month public display from mid-May to mid-August,” he said.
Alignment is one of the interesting parts of the MRT initial development that could spark controversial issues in terms of residents’ complaints, loss of business, creation of new township and real estate booster as well as preservation of heritage sites based on the line 1 experience.
Former MRT Corp chief executive Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid, who bowed out on the grounds of being accountable for the death of several workers in an accident during the construction last year, faced a lot of resistance in firming up the alignment.
Malaysia, which is facing a challenging year with the fall in oil prices and commodities, revised its Budget 2015 that was unveiled in October last year.
However, MRT2 remained a priority. The other project that was not affected is the LRT3 line from Bandar Utama to Klang.