Gamuda MD agrees MRT too luxurious but was what the then govt wanted

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 7, 2018.
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SHAH ALAM: Gamuda Bhd, which is involved in the construction of the Klang Valley mass rapid transit (MRT) project in a joint venture (JV) with MMC Corp Bhd, conceded yesterday the lavishness of its design, which is likely to only reach its full potential in 20 to 30 years.

Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said however, the group’s role as a project delivery partner (PDP) for the project was to deliver the project as per the previous Barisan Nasional (BN)-led administration’s request.

“We agree with the comment that it is too big and too luxurious. But our responsibility is to manage the project delivery for the government — the size and number of stations were all decided by the government,” he told a press conference after the group’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“In fact, I remember that during the tender for the underground works, we had proposed alternative designs to the (BN) government to omit certain aspects in order to reduce cost, but they did not accept the alternatives,” Lin explained.

Lin also highlighted that the Putra light rail transit network took about 20 years to reach a ridership of 250,000 per day, compared with its ridership of 50,000 per day during its first year of operations.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent interview with Free Malaysia Today, where the premier was reported as saying that the MRT project had been built ahead of its time.

“When you build something that will only have full ridership maybe 20 or 30 years from now, it is too early to build. You can build in stages,” Dr Mahathir had said.

Under the previous administration, the MMC Gamuda JV was given the mandate to see through the second phase of the MRT project (MRT2) at a cost of RM56.93 billion which included a line extended to Bandar Malaysia and 13.5km of its tracks running through underground tunnels.

The overall cost for the MRT2 project has since been reduced to RM30.53 billion after reducing the total number of stations to be built from the original 35 to 33 now and a cost reduction for the underground portion, following the change in government on May 9.

Phase 3 of the project has also been shelved indefinitely.