THE state-owned Indian Railway Construction Co (Ircon) has come back with a new offer for 70% of the work on the Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch of the multi-billion ringgit double-tracking rail project, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said.
“The new offer looks more amenable for discussion. It has to be discussed with the government,” he said when contacted.
The MMC-Gamuda joint venture, which has been given the Letter of Award by the government for the electrified double-tracking project had said that Ircon and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) did not accept the role of sub-contractors for the project and that it would proceed to either undertake the works by itself or identify other companies as sub-contractors.
Offers had also been made to DRB-Hicom, DRB-HICOM Hikmat Asia and Emrail to be sub-contractors for 30% of the project, which all three companies had accepted, ,pending clarification.
MMC-Gamuda was obliged to give Ircon, CREC and the three Malaysian companies the right of first refusal as first sub-contractors to undertake work on the double-tracking rail project linking Padang Besar to Johor Baru.
Speaking to reporters after presenting a keynote address on infrastructure at the Malaysia-India Business Forum at the Putra World Trade Centre, Samy Vellu said there were some discussions between the Malaysian consortium and Ircon but the pricing had not been finalised.
India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, S.B. Mookherjee, who is visiting Malaysia as part of the delegation to the Incredible India 2003 trade exhibition, said he had been informed that the Malaysian cabinet was still considering the Indian involvement in the project.
“We are hopeful. We have a good track record and I don’t see why we should not get part of the business,” Mookherjee said.
Malaysia had given letters of intent regarding the railway project to Ircon and CREC but days before Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as Prime Minister on Oct 31, the award was given to MMC-Gamuda, which offered a lower bid of RM14.45bil (US$3.8bil).
The project, Malaysia’s biggest infrastructure contract, which will form part of a planned link between Singapore and China, involves the design and construction of an electric railway between Ipoh and Padang Besar for the northern section, and Seremban and Johor Baru in the south.