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MRT And Other Construction Projects To Take Off In 2012
Malaysia Perspective | 10 February 2012

By Michael Tee

The year 2012 is expected to see newer projects awarded or taking off. Most of them are from project announcements already made in the 2010-2011 period such as the MRT, the impending Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail network, the Gemas to Johor Bahru double tracking project, and several highway jobs. Leading the way would be the much awaited MRT project phase 1 linking Sungei Buloh to Kajang. Works for this 51kilometre line should start by mid-2012 and be completed by mid-2017. It has been delayed from the initial 2016 due to land acquisition issues. This line will have 32 stations (8 stations underground and 24 stations above ground). Tenders for the station works are likely to be called by mid-2012.

The cost of the line has not been finalised but is believed to be about RM20 billion, with the elevated portion accounting for RM12 billion and the tunnelled portion costing RM8 billion. MRT Co will have a better idea of costing once tenders have been called for the major parts of the project. The overall project is expected to have a large multiplier effect on Malaysia’s economy with an addition of some RM3 to RM4 billion in Gross National Income per annum during the construction period (2011-2020). A further RM8 to RM12 billion is expected from spin-off projects, with the creation of some 130,000 new jobs.

Tenders Have Opened

It is understood that up to 45% of the project value will be awarded by April 2012 and with the figure rising to some 85% by October. As of now, 13 packages worth RM100 million had been awarded and works are in progress. For the elevated portion, two civil works packages, two packages for stations and one supply package for segmental box girders were supposed to close by December 2011, to be awarded by February or March 2012. The first two packages, namely the Viaduct 5 and Viaduct 6 for civil works, and Station 5 and Station 6 – are for Taman Bukit Ria – Plaza Phoenix segment and Plaza Phoenix – Bandar Tun Hussein Onn segment. Each package may be worth between RM200 to RM300 million for civil works and RM300 to RM400 million for the stations, while the box girders supply contract may be worth between RM500 to RM600 million.

The next set of tenders will likely be in February 2012. Unlike the tunnelling portion, it is believed that the pricing will be the primary deciding factor for the elevated portion. For the tunnelling portion, five contractors have been pre-qualified and the tender will close in January 2012, with a single award likely in April 2012. The five contractors are
MMC-Gamuda JV, China’s Sinohydro, China Railway Corp, Japan’s Taisei Corp., and Hyundai-Gadang partnership.

Land Issues

Although 70% of the Sungei Buloh – Kajang track will be on road reserves (government land) and 30% would be acquired, MRT Co believes the key challenge would be land acquisition. This is already evident with Jalan Inai, Jalan Sultan and Jalan Bukit Bintang. Based on the latest Pemandu update, it is gathered that most of these land acquisition problems have been resolved.

It is understood that residents would have to vacate the area for a maximum of six month and would be compensated for temporary accommodation, lost of business, and damage to property (if any). Also, the government would bear the legal fees for the mutual agreements. The current owners would retain legal ownership of the properties, but the titles would be endorsed to ensure that the tunnel below the land/properties belong to the State. This is important because if the land or properties are sold, the new owners must refer to the MRT Co. before developing the properties, to protect the tunnel.

The imposition of the Land Acquisition Act would only take place as a last resort if a solution cannot be reached with the land or property owners. The majority has accepted the proposal in principle, but there are a few who still insist on realignments to be made.

Other Developments In 2012

Based on reports and investigations, it is understood that several other projects would be receiving their approvals in 2012, with possible awards in late 2012 to 2013. The first would be the two other MRT lines expected to be announced in the first half of 2012 and likely to be implemented by mid-2013. Key changes to the MRT line were announced at the MRT ground breaking in July 2011. They are:

a) MRT Circle Line will likely be constructed in two phases -
Phase 1: The Sentul East–Miharja (Cheras)–Ampang (completion by 2020), and Phase 2: Ampang–Sentul East (by 2030);

b) MRT Orange Line (Ampang-Klang) has been scrapped, and replaced by LRT extension from Kelana Jaya to Klang. A new line was introduced – MRT 3 (Selayang –Pandan Jaya (Cheras) – Seri Kembangan) – to be completed by 2020-2030;

c) The next would be the high-speed rail system linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is expected to start feasibility study on the project in early 2012, with pre-feasibility study already completed. This is expected to take 6 to 12 months, and the project cost is estimated to be around RM12 billion. According to the media, there are three groups vying for the project, namely Tan Sri Ravindran Menon with the UEM Group, China Infraglobe Consortium-Global Rail and YTL Corporation (SYM: 4677).

With regard to the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail network, it is believed that the plan is to lay railway lines parallel to the North-South Expressway from Kuala Lumpur, Seremban and Malacca to Johor Bahru, before connecting to Singapore.

Other projects that are expected to be initiated are the Gemas-Johor Bahru double tracking project; the Lebuhraya Pantai Timur Jabor-Kuala Terengganu, Lebuhraya Pantai Barat Banting-Taiping (West Coast Expressway), Lebuhraya Segamat-Tangkak and Lebuhraya Central Spine and Kota Marudu-Ranau road, as well as the redevelopment of the Sungai Besi Air Base in Kuala Lumpur.

In July 2011, the Transport Minister said that the tender for the 197 kilometre Gemas to Johor Bahru double tracking project (EDTP) would be held before the year-end (2011) and the stretch was in the final stage of design. However the news has since changed and now it is believed that a contract award would only take place by March 2012. Three Chinese companies were earlier shortlisted – China Railway Engineering Co (CREC), China Railway Construction Co (CRCC) and China Communication Construction Co (CCCC). The three are subsidiaries of China’s Ministry of Railway. The Seremban-Gemas portion of the double tracking project was earlier awarded to an Indian contractor.

* Information and research material courtesy of HwangDBSVickers Research.

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