Perkasa: Najib ‘listened’ to our MRT requests

By Clara Chooi | May 20, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Perkasa praised Datuk Seri Najib Razak today, saying it was the prime minister who influenced Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) to relax its criteria for contracts under the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

The party’s economic director, Dr Zubir Harun, told The Malaysian Insider that Najib had “listened” to concerns raised recently by Malay rights groups on how Bumiputera contractors were being excluded from opportunities in the multibillion ringgit rail project.

“The PM listened to Perkasa and reacted positively. Now, thanks to the PM who looked at our request, SPNB has more or less tried to ensure that all contractors — Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera — can get involved in the MRT and share the cake,” he said when contacted this morning.

Zubir claimed that during a walkabout earlier this month, Najib had already informed the groups that he accepted their concerns and SPNB would soon review its conditions.

“There was a large audience there who heard him. You can quote me on this. It was an announcement by the PM himself,” he said.

Zubir was responding to SPNB’s announcement yesterday that it had agreed to revise the pre-qualification criteria for contractors who wish to tender for elevated civil works, stations and depots work construction packages under the MRT.

The project owner said beginning today, contractors will be allowed to form joint ventures (JV) or consortiums involving no more than three firms to bid for the projects.

The elevated stations and depots work packages include building works, station M&E works, traction and power sub-station building works, park and ride facilities, depot building drainage, depot equipment and landscape works while the elevated civil works package include substructure works, elevated guide way structure and segmental girders.

Zubir said SPNB’s new guidelines now allowed equal opportunities for all firms to compete in the project tender.

He stressed that Perkasa’s requests were reasonable, pointing out that the group was only adhering to the promise of “inclusiveness” in Najib’s New Economic Model (NEM).

“If SPNB has stuck to its old model, requiring firms to have RM10 million in paid-up capital, then where is this inclusiveness that has been promised?

“This change shows that the PM is listening to the Malay groups and looking after the interests of the Bumiputera. At the same time, there is inclusiveness so all firms have a chance now,” he said.

Zubir added that there was no reason for any criticism on the matter as the revised guidelines only made sure that everyone would be able to “share the MRT cake”.

“It is a big cake. Do you not agree with me that we should all have a share in it? I am taking a very moderate stand here. This is how we view it.

“Why only allow the big players to enjoy? Does our request cause any trouble to people? Does it affect racial harmony? I think it is fair,” he said.

Perkasa, along with several other NGOs representing Bumiputera entrepreneurs, had complained last month that without allowing the formation of JVs, the smaller Bumiputera contractor firms would not be able to take part in the project tender.

During a press conference on the matter, Zubir had said that the strict guidelines would not only prevent Bumiputera participation but also benefit the “rich non-Bumis”.

He accused MMC-Gamuda monopolising the entire project, saying the JV had “purposely” enforced the guidelines.

The Malay rights leader had also complained of SPNB’s condition forcing firms to fork out a bond payment of RM300,000 at the pre-qualification level in order to bid for projects, which he said was unattainable to Bumiputera contractors if they were not allowed to form JVs.

“MMC-Gamuda itself is a joint venture… most big-scale government projects are, why not this?” Zubir had added.

The total project cost of the MRT was estimated at RM36.6 billion for three rail lines through the Klang Valley when it was first proposed two years ago but that projection did not include cost of land and also rolling stock for the MRT.

SPNB has also not finalised the financing and project manager’s fees for the MRT although planning has started for initial civil engineering work to begin in November.

Regulator Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) had said the Finance Ministry has set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to raise funds for the project but had admitted the method has yet to be determined.

The SPNB chief had also said some 100 firms have applied for pre-qualification for the 16 packages in the elevated part of the 51km-long MRT; the deadline for pre-qualification ended on April 13.

The MRT is the country’s biggest infrastructure project and also the largest National Key Economic Area (NKEA) project under Najib’s New Economic Model (NEM).

The massive project is expected to generate 130,000 jobs during its five-year construction phase. The government hopes that more than half of the population in Greater KL will use the public transport system to prevent traffic congestion.

  1. #1 by drngsc on Friday, 20 May 2011 - 5:20 pm

    Hello Zubir,

    The gang leader will surely have time and listen to his hirelings. So what is new?

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya

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