Under Kong Choy’s “fast-track” development, the Ipoh-Rawang double tracking project fell further behind schedule from one year to some four years, with the pace of completion of project only one-third of the rate before the “fast track”
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Wednesday): When Datuk Chan Kong Choy became Transport Minister two years ago, the RM4.6 billion Ipoh-Rawang electrified double tracking project was one year behind schedule, as it was to be completed in 35 months in June 2003 from the commencement of the contract in July 2000.
Now, the project, which is in two packages - the RM2.58 billion infrastructure works awarded to DRB-Hicom and RM1.9 billion systems works awarded to Mitsui & Co Transport Systems – is some four years behind schedule, as it can only be operational at the earliest in 2007.
In September 2003, Chan announced a “fast track” programme to complete the Ipoh-Rawang double tracking project before October 2005 for the new train service to start in early 2006.
The dynamo of this “fast track” programme was a steering committee which Chan formed and headed by the Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zaharah Shaari to look after the progress of the project. Chan said the steering committee would meet weekly with the main contractors to solve the problems faced in the course of implementing the project.
However, Chan’s “fast track” project made dubious history in government development as being the slowest of all “fast track” projects. Instead of meeting weekly, the high-powered “fast track” steering committee had not met for the past one year!
In September 2003, Chan announced that DRB-Hicom had completed 71.65 per cent of the infrastructure and civil works after 38 months between July 2000 – September 2003, i.e completion of 1.9 per cent of the project per month. Early this year, independent consultant, MOTT MacDonald Ltd reported that only 82 per cent of the project had been completed by December 2004, i.e. completion of another 10.35 per cent of the project in the following 14 months of “fast track” development or 0.7 per cent of the project per month. This means that work during the 14-month “fast track” phase is very much slower as it is only 36.8 per cent of the completion rate in the previous 38 months of “non fast-track” of the contract.
Chan Kong Choy should explain the dubious honour of being responsible for the slowest “fast-track” development project in Malaysian history, with the Ipoh-Rawang double tracking project worsening from one-year behind schedule when he became Transport Minister to some four years behind schedule and the rate of completion under the “fast track” only about one-third the rate before the “fast track”.
The Transport Minister cannot keep mum on my statement yesterday about the Ipoh-Rawang double-tracking project and the Malaysian public are entitled to a full explanation from Chan as to (i) whether UEM Group Bhd had replaced DRM Hicom as the lead contractor for the unfinished portion of 18% of the project; (ii) whether this is at an additional cost of RM1.1 billion, hiking the infrastructure costs from RM2.58 billion to RM3.68 billion; and (iii) how public interests are served by such last-minute “change of horse” in the lead contractor.
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman