Monday, 27 December 2010

The great MRT project, if Gamuda's RM36 Billion estimate is factually wrong what is SPAD's estimate?

This is quite a long post but please bear with me. 

In July this year I wrote a post on the Greater KL MRT project here:

Well we Malaysians do not have to speculate any longer the Great MRT Project is now officially on:

Updated: Saturday December 18, 2010 MYT 2:52:19 PM
PM: Construction of RM36bil KL Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to begin July

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet has approved the implementation of a mass rapid transit system for Kuala Lumpur, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak Saturday.

Construction of the RM36bil project will begin in July next year, he said.

The largest infrastructure project in Malaysia approved Friday in a Cabinet weekly meeting, is one of the economic entry points identified in the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area under the Government’s Economic Transformation Programme.

Construction work is expected to begin in July 2011 and will take about five or six years to complete, Najib said. The MRT is expected to improve public transport in the Klang Valley and generate 130,000 jobs during its construction.

It is also expected to generate gross national income of between RM3bil and RM4bil per annum from 2011 to 2020 from direct construction and operations and another RM8bil and RM12bil as a result of its multiplier impact. The first line in MRT network will run between Sg Buloh and Kajang through the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

Why I left the word KL after Great is because the overall project would cost a whopping RM36 BILLION so it is only right that it is called the Great MRT project. While there is no doubt that this is a much needed project for the urban folks in the KL-Klang valley and it would obviously inject tons of much needed cash into the economy, and will provide scores of thousands of jobs for Malaysians. It appears that the total cost seemed to be on the higher side even for both layman and even technical people who are not familiar with MRT systems. After all what are the components of the MRT System which is only going to be about 150km long?

These are basically:

Traffic Management, Pavement Removals, Utility Relocation, Land /Building Compensation, Station Construction, Roadwork, Shoring, Tunneling, Street Lighting, Trackbed (at road level, above street level, underground structures), Track work, Traction Power, Power Distribution, Transformer Stations, Signalling System, Automated Vehicle Locator Systems (AVLS), Ticketing and Fare Collection Systems, Light Rail Transit Vehicles, Maintenance & Operations Facilities, Maintenance Equipment etc.

I think the representatives voices telling the Government to have a relook at the cost is sincere and their opinions needed to be heard:

Was Teh Tarik 18 Sen In 1998?

Well folks the MRT extension project is going to start soon, as early as April 2011. The estimated cost is about RM36.0 Billion. That is a lot of money. It is also an insane figure. Read the rest of Syed's arguments here.

MRT: putting the horse before the cart

It has already been announced that the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) construction will begin July next year, and we are told that the RM36 billion project (not including land acquisition cost) will generate more jobs and income for the nation. MRT has been touted as the magic bullet to solve congestion woes in Greater KL.

But we have not been told how the project can sustain itself financially and fulfil the needs of the rakyat equitably. I am having a hard time grasping how the most expensive transportation undertaking in the nation's history can proceed even before the endorsement of a public transport masterplan. Read the rest of the penetrating letter here.

I done a bit of a digging and a clicking myself and have this for comparison:

Data taken from The northern Electrified Double Track project Ipoh to Padang Besar is accessible by the public at the project official website here.

Main Contractor   :  MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture
Type of Contract   :  Design And Build
Cost : RM12.485 Billion
LoA: 13 December 2007
Site Possession: 8 January 2008

The northern Electrified Double Track project Ipoh to Padang Besar comprises the design and construction of the infrastructure and systems works for 329-km. Work involves the laying of two new parallel tracks to replace the existing single-track, including new stations, bridges, as well as modern electrification and signalling systems.

Scope of work:

Route   : Overall Length – 329 Km
Sector 1: Kedah Line – 158 Km Bukit Mertajam–Padang Besar
Sector 2: Mainline – 171 Km (Butterworth – Ipoh)

Major – 7
Minor – 14
Halt – 10
Depot – 3

Tunnel: Bukit Berapit – 3.3km (Perak), Larut – 0.33km (Perak)

Depot: Padang Besar (Perlis), Prai (P.Pinang) and Bukit Mertajam (P.Pinang)

Road Over Bridge (ROB) – 66 No
Road Under Bridge (RUB) - 8 No
River Bridge (RB) – 75 No
Motorcycle/ Pedestrian Bridge – 45 No

Special Structure: Prai Swing Bridge – 282 m

Marine Viaduct (Bukit Merah) – 3.5km

KTMB Quarters: 220 Units


Signaling & Control Communication

Let's see now, 329km of double tracking complete with 2 tunnels one of which is the longest rail tunnel in South East Asia, bridges even a swing bridge and a marine viaduct, 7 major stations plus 24 minor stations plus 3 depots at 2007 price cost the country RM12.485 Billion. Now, the Government should not be annoyed if the people asked whether a 150km Great MRT line project complete with tunnels, bridges, stations, depot, land acquisition will cost that humongous money.

In fact I think it is necessary for the Government to come out with the details the budget for the Great MRT project before it becomes cannon fodder for the Opposition. 

The people do not want this kind of latest statement from SPAN which lack competency nor is it convincing enough:

Govt-funded MRT
27 Dec 2010
By Ooi Tee Ching

The government will set up a special vehicle company (SPV) to channel total funding for the proposed greater KL mass rapid transit (MRT) project.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal said the multi-billion ringgit project will not be undertaken on a turnkey basis and contractors need not seek financing.

"The greater KL MRT project is based on an international concept of project delivery partner, a hybrid of turnkey and project management consultancy," he told reporter at a briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Also present at the briefing was SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.

"I read some newspaper headlines saying MMC-Gamuda bags RM36 billion MRT project. That is factually wrong," he said.

read more here.

OK Mr Smart CEO of SPAD while many will be happy that the tendering will follow international standards, BUT if Gamuda's estimate is factually wrong then what is SPAD's estimate then. We are all dying to know. Because the difference of the RMx Billions between SPAD's estimate and Gamuda's estimate could be used to fund other transport activities like maintenance dredging for small ports and jetties of river mouths in the peninsular and Sabah & Sarawak, extension of railway lines to Kuantan even Rompin etc.etc which will have a direct impact on everybody else in Malaysia outside the Klang Valley.

I think while the Government intention is good i.e to bring the best to the rakyat, but good intentions alone are not enough, the Government must explain in detail the cost involved as well, the rakyat must know as ultimately whether it is a BN Government or god forbid an alternative party, at the end of the day it is the ordinary people, our children and their children who will ultimately pay the cost of any Government decisions in the future.

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