Malaysia

Disquiet over winner of Ampang LRT RM960m system works

By Jahabar Sadiq
Editor

June 29, 2012
Latest Update: June 29, 2012 08:08 pm

The Ampang LRT network will be extended by 17.7km. — Picture courtesy of komunitikini.comThe Ampang LRT network will be extended by 17.7km. — Picture courtesy of komunitikini.comKUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — The speculated winner of the Ampang Light Rail Transit (LRT) system works, the George Kent consortium, was one of three bidders which failed both the technical and commercial evaluation for the RM960 million contract, say sources.

The Malaysian Insider understands that only five of the eight bidders passed the technical and commercial evaluation stage but project owner Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) finally recommended one of the two South Korean consortiums in the running — PDA Consortium — as the other consortiums were said to not have complied with all conditions.

However, at least one of the bidders that passed all evaluations and put in a lower bid was not considered because SPNB said it did not comply with all conditions.

“George Kent was never in the running as it failed both the technical and commercial evaluation, so it’s a surprise that it is speculated to be the winner and PKR is making a fuss about it,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

PKR officials have shown copies of official documents to the press, showing that the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) Acquisition Committee, which met this January 25, had decided to award the contract to Balfour Bratty Invensys Consortium. The committee is the highest decision-making body in the MoF and is chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also finance minister.

But a Business Times article this month speculated that logistics consortium George Kent was to get the project, repeating its report from a year ago. But the report has yet to be verified although PKR has been asking Najib to clear the air over the contract winner.

The Malaysian Insider sighted several reports linked to the tender which showed that George Kent never had experience in rail engineering or handled such a massive project. According to the reports, the consortium, known more in the water industry, has only done projects worth up to RM40 million.

Sources said those reviewing the presentations from all eight bidders found that George Kent had very little ideas to undertake the key system works, which involves setting up a new signals system for the existing and future extension above the existing system.

“This project involves signalling and, crucially, the safety of all those who ride on the LRT along that line. So they have to choose an experienced company to build this,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

The pro-government Business Times said Putrajaya was due to announce the winning bidder by the end of June, adding that George Kent was tipped to get the lucrative project. The highest bid received for the project tender, which closed on June 16, was RM1.45 billion.

But PKR’s sheaf of documents showed that the SPNB meeting on December 2, 2011, had recommended PDA Consortium to undertake the project for RM1.12 billion over 44 months. SPNB is a wholly-owned unit of the MoF and the company has budgeted RM1.5 billion for the system works.

SPNB is spending some RM7 billion for the extension of both the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT rail networks. The Ampang network will be extended by 17.7km.

Apart from extending the current LRT lines, Putrajaya is also undertaking the multi-billion ringgit My Rapid Transit (MRT) that will snake through the capital city. The country’s most expensive infrastructure project is to be ready by June 2017 but there have been delays and reluctance by international companies to bid for the tenders on offer.

“The industry wants a level playing field. They are wondering why the Ampang system works is hard to give out and the need for speculation about the winner,” an industry told The Malaysian Insider.

The Land Transport Commission has announced that up to RM160 billion could be spent on railway infrastructure projects in the country, making Malaysia a tempting destination for international engineering firms.