PETALING JAYA: A total of 331 Malaysian construction companies have been shortlisted as potential tenderers for the civil works packages of the RM44bil East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), with nearly 71%, or 234, of these companies being bumiputera-owned.
ECRL project owner Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) said in a statement yesterday that calls for tenders for the 40% civil works (excluding tunnel works) of ECRL will commence in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The 331 Malaysian construction companies were shortlisted from a total of 1,321 firms, following the recent Pre-Qualification (Pre-Q) exercise.
MRL, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Inc, also said that local companies comprising suppliers, contractors and consultants that were appointed for ECRL’s preliminary works prior to its suspension last year, will be allowed to resume work.
According to MRL CEO Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak, tender packages to be issued for the 40% civil works (excluding tunnel works) would first involve the 223-km stretch from Dungun to Mentakab where the rail alignment had been finalised.
He added that tenders for local contractors would continuously be called throughout the construction period of the ECRL.
Darwis also said that further tenders will be called once both the re-alignment from Kota Baru to Dungun as well as new southern alignment between Mentakab and Port Klang have been firmed up.
Earlier on May 29 and 30, the ECRL’s main contractor, China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) had invited submission of Pre-Q documents in an effort to identify potential local subcontractors for the 40% civil works package.
All Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB)-registered companies from grades G3 to G7 that possess a minimum 2-Star SCORE rating were encouraged to participate in the Pre-Q exercise.
A Pre-Q evaluation committee consisting of representatives from MRL and CCCC had evaluated each of the 1,321 applicant firms based on their track record, financial capabilities, technical personnel as well as plant and equipment.
“All shortlisted companies are expected to be notified in writing before end-Aug 2019 by CCCC who is the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor for the 640-km ECRL project,” stated MRL.
The ECRL, which was launched by the previous Barisan Nasional administration, hit a snag following the change in federal government post-14th general election in May 2018.
The rail project was suspended in July 2018 to give way to a review by the Pakatan Harapan government due to ECRL’s cost concerns.
However, the project resumed again this year after the signing of a supplementary agreement between MRL and CCCC on Apr 12.
The improved deal, among others, saw the construction cost of the ECRL reduced to RM44bil from RM65.5bil, while the portion for local participation of the ECRL civil works rose to 40% from 30% previously.
Expected to link Kota Bharu to Putrajaya in approximately four hours, the 640km ECRL is scheduled for completion by Dec 2026.
However, Darwis said the completion date also hinges on the effective participation of local contractors in ECRL’s civil works which includes earthworks, foundation works, structural works, soil improvement works and road works.