THE governments of Malaysia and Sri Lanka have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the 110km Colombo-Kandy Expressway project, valued at US$280mil.
A consortium comprising three local companies led by the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia would undertake the project on a build, operate and transfer basis, said Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.
The contract should be formalised in three to four months and work will begin six months after, he told reporters after the MoU signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The three local companies are Sri Rama Lanka Sdn Bhd, Bumi Highway Sdn Bhd, and Grand Saga Construction Sdn Bhd.
Samy said the project should be completed in three years and would spur the growth of new industrial areas, townships, and commercial and residential centres along the Colombo-Kandy Expressway.
The project is of strategic value, and is extremely important for the economic growth of Sri Lanka, he said.
He added that the expressway would also boost inflows of revenue for Sri Lanka's tourism industry.
He also said the highway would increase productivity and economic efficiency in Sri Lanka through speedier business transactions and delivery of goods, and smoother linkages between economic sectors.
Malaysian construction companies so far have made in-roads into such countries as India, Bosnia-Herzegovia, Sudan, China, Jamaica, Cambodia and now Sri Lanka.
Our areas of expertise cover a wide range, including infrastructure, buildings, highways, bridges, ports, airports, power supply and water supply, Samy said.
Sri Lanka's Vanni province Rehabilitation Minister Noordeen Mashoor said the Sri Lanka government was keen to work with the Malaysian government to develop projects in other sectors.
Besides construction, we are confident there will be other projects ahead, he said, adding that a waterworks project was in the pipeline.
Noordeen declined to elaborate.