KVDT2: Does Anthony Loke prefer govt projects awarded at a higher price via direct negotiation or given at a lower price via open tender?
That is the question at its most basic level that needs to be answered.
Allegations by immediate past Transport Minister Anthony Loke in the Dewan Rakyat about purported interference from the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to Dhaya Maju-LTAT Sdn Bhd (DM-LTAT) over the Klang Valley Double Tracking Phase 2 (KVDT2) to sub-contract the project to a “China company” are mischievous, and even worse, reek of anti-Sino fear mongering.
On 28 Aug 2020, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ir Dr Wee Ka Siong had announced that the government would reopen bidding for the KVDT2 project based on results of an extensive study, which discovered that the cost of the renegotiated project during PH’s rule was still overpriced. MoT under the Perikatan Nasional government should be lauded for reopening bidding in the interest of transparency and merit, instead of adopting direct negotiation whereby the contractor was appointed via direct negotiation.
On 5 July, 2019, the PH administration had decided to continue KVDT2 with DM-LTAT at a cost lowered by 15% from RM5.265 billion to RM4.475 billion, or a decrease by RM789.75 million.
Unfortunately, PH purportedly did not take into account findings of an MoT-commissioned Professional Review Report done in October 2018, which concluded that KVDT actually costs only RM3.398 billion based on DM-LTAT’s original scope of work. He has also forgotten that Opus Consultant (M) Sdn Bhd, a company under Khazanah Nasional Bhd, had tabled a far lower price estimate review for KVDT2.
Let us also refresh Anthony Loke’s memory. The former Transport Minister himself had on 9 July 2019, in the Dewan Rakyat, confirmed that Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) had sent letters to MoT, as well as the Finance Ministry, informing both of problems encountered from the first phase of the project. Among the problems cited were: lateness, insufficient equipment and incompetent workers.
As Anthony Loke was aware in the discrepancies surrounding the project, it strikes as uncanny as to why he would continue to award the same company, Phase 2 of KVDT besides pursue Dr Wee on DM-LTAT’s behalf besides raising racial innuendoes.
If Anthony Loke indeed possesses solid evidence of his accusations, he should have the courage to declare such claims outside of the august chambers of the Dewan Rakyat.
Finally, please answer my initial question, Anthony: "Should a project be given at a lower price via open tender or awarded via direct negotiations at a higher price costing possibly the rakyat hundreds of million ringgit more?”
Chan Quin Er