Gamuda’s excellent credentials make its subsidiary SRS Consortium an ideal choice for project delivery partner
THE Transport Ministry is finalising the details of Penang’s light rail transit (LRT) project with the Penang Transport Master Plan's project delivery partner (PDP) SRS Consortium.
Once the overall implementation model is finalised, contractors are expected to be appointed by year-end, Transport Minister Anthony Loke told Kwong Wah Yit Poh in a recent interview.
"Our intention is to kick off the project by the end of 2023 so it's best if the contractors are appointed by then. This way, construction can commence by early 2024," he was quoted as saying.
Industry stakeholders and analysts feel this is timely. With the political uncertainty lifted after state elections, all parties can now refocus their efforts towards Penang's economic growth.
KAF Equities senior investment analyst Mak Hoy Ken said big ticket infrastructure projects like this can be a huge shot in the arm for the local construction sector.
"Penang hasn't seen many mega projects in recent years and this would certainly provide beneficial spillover effects for small, medium and large-scale contractors alike.
"Take the Komtar-Bayan Lepas line for example, which is estimated to cost upwards of RM10bil. This sizable sum will stimulate and revitalise a sector that's been in the doldrums of late," Mak said.
He believes SRS makes an ideal PDP, given it is a subsidiary of Gamuda which has strong credentials and an excellent track record in delivering projects on time and on budget.
"They have both the knowledge and expertise to manage a project of such size and deliver it accordingly. They were involved right from the start and have a ready proposal.
"They are the ideal candidate," Mak added, pointing to the company's successful involvement with the Klang Valley's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project Lines 1 and 2.
He believes in the efficiency of the PDP model which eliminates the risk of cost overruns and provides a single point of accountability in terms of budget, delivery programme and quality of work.
"Given the national dynamics now, it's imperative the project rolls out soon and Gamuda's prior experience makes them the ideal chariot master," he added.
The aforementioned MRT Lines 1 and 2 were spread into over 30 contract packages. The Penang LRT project is also expected to follow this model.
Work is expected to be spread across 20 or more packages - bringing plentiful opportunities for all construction players, especially those with rail credentials.
Under the original plan approved in July 2019, Penang's first LRT line will link Komtar in George Town to the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas on the southern part of the island. However, it has been announced that the route will be extended to Tanjung Bungah after the Federal Government took over the implementation.
In addition, Loke also mentioned before that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had stated that the LRT should not be exclusive to Penang Island and must be connected to the mainland.