KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 2): A total of 331 out of 1,321 Malaysian construction companies have been shortlisted as potential tenderers for civil work packages of the planned RM44 billion 640-km East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), which is expected to link Kota Bharu to Putrajaya in about four hours, said project and asset owner Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).
Minister of Finance Inc's wholly-owned subsidiary MRL said in a statement today that calls for local contractors to submit their tenders will start in the fourth quarter of 2019 following submission of pre-qualification (pre-Q) documents in the end of May this year.
"A pre-Q evaluation committee consisting of representatives from MRL and China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) had shortlisted 331 or 25.1% of 1,321 Malaysian construction companies following detailed evaluation of each entity's track record, financial capabilities, technical personnel and plant & equipment.
"From the 331 construction companies that qualified as potential tenderers, the CIDB G7 category made up the largest number with 164 entities followed by CIDB G4 with 69 entities. The remaining came from CIDB G3 with 45 entities while G5 and G6 categories made up 33 entities and 20 entities respectively," MRL said.
According to MRL, the pre-Q evaluation committee has also identified 234 or 70.7% of the 331 construction companies that were shortlisted to be Bumiputera companies.
MRL said all shortlisted companies are expected to be notified in writing before end-August 2019 by CCCC, which is the engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (EPCC) contractor for the ECRL.
MRL's statement quoted MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak as saying tender packages to be issued for the 40% civil works portion, which excludes tunnel works, will first involve the 223km stretch from Dungun to Mentakab, where the rail alignment has been finalised.
Darwis said tenders for local contractors will continuously be called throughout the construction period of the ECRL.
"He said further tenders will be called once both the re-alignment from Kota Bharu to Dungun as well as the new southern alignment between Mentakab and Port Klang have been firmed up, noting that completion of the ECRL by end of 2026 also hinges on the effective participation of local contractors in ECRL's civil works which includes earthworks, foundation works, structural works, soil improvement works and road works," MRL said.
The signing of a supplementary agreement between MRL and CCCC on April 12, 2019 paved the way for the resumption of the ECRL project following a suspension on July 3, 2018.
Today, MRL said the improved deal, among others, saw the construction cost of the ECRL reduced to RM44 billion from RM65.5 billion, while the portion for local participation in the ECRL civil works rose to 40% from 30% previously.
"Prior to the suspension of the ECRL project, there have been local companies consisting of suppliers, contractors, and consultants that were appointed by CCCC for preliminary works on the ECRL. These contracts were suspended following the suspension of the ECRL project on July 3, 2018.
"Nevertheless, with the resumption of the ECRL project, CCCC will honour the respective contracts and enable the local companies concerned to resume work," MRL said.