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Kong Choy should give full and satisfactory explanation about his “slowest ‘fast track’ double-rail project to nowhere”


Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Saturday): When Chan Kong Choy replaced Dr. Ling Liong Sik as  Transport Minister in May 2003, one of his priorities was a “fast-track” programme to complete the  RM4.6 billion Ipoh-Rawang electrified double tracking project which was one year behind schedule.  The double tracking project was originally scheduled to be completed in 35 months in June 2003 from the commencement of the contract in July 2000.

Kong Choy’s first Ministerial initiative has proved to be an unmitigated failure as his  “fast-track” double-rail programme has become a joke as the nation’s  “slowest ‘fast-track’ project to nowhere”!

This was vividly illustrated  during the winding-up of the Transport Ministry in the 2006 Budget debate on Wednesday night.

As Kong Choy was overseas,  I asked the  Deputy Transport Minister,  Tengku Azlan for the latest cost of the Rawang-Ipoh double-tracking project.  The Deputy Minister  did not know.  I asked when the double-tracking project would be completed. The Deputy Minister  did not know. What were  the new contractual terms in the  replacement of  DRB-Hicom Bhd by  UEM Builders Bhd as the main contractor for the project? The Deputy Minister did not know!

In the middle of the year, the Transport Ministry had announced that the government was taking  over the double-tracking project and handing it over to UEM Builders as the new “lead contractor”.

What is the progress of the double tracking project  since the UEM  takeover of the project from DRB-Hicom in the past five months? The Deputy Transport Minister does not seem  to have any clue.

The RM4.5 billion Rawang-Ipoh electrified double-tracking project is  in two  packages -  the RM2.58 billion infrastructure works originally awarded to DRB-Hicom and RM1.9 billion systems works awarded to Mitsui & Co Transport Systems. 

In my media statements in May 2005, I  had said that despite Kong Choy’s “fast track” programme announced in September 2003, work had been at a standstill for a year because of the dispute over the variation orders claims amounting to some RM700 million by the lead contractor for civil and structural works,  DRB Hicom.

The questions which I posed to Kong Choy on May 11, 2005 remains as valid now as five months ago, viz:

(i)                 whether UEM Group Bhd had replaced DRM Hicom as the lead contractor for the unfinished portion of 18% of the project at an additional cost of RM1.1 billion, hiking the infrastructure costs from RM2.58 billion to RM3.68 billion; and

(ii)               how public interests are served by such last-minute “change of horse” in the lead contractor.

With the Deputy Transport Minister unable to answer simple questions in Parliament about  the project, such as the new date of completion and its cost, I  have reason to believe and fear that Kong Choy’s slowest “fast-track” project to nowhere is shaping up to be a mega-scandal in Malaysia in the 21st century.

Kong Choy’s first  duty on his return from overseas is to give a full and satisfactory  explanation and accounting of his “slowest ‘fast track’ double rail project to nowhere”.  He should explain why the one-year delay in the  completion of the project when he took over as Transport Minister has now become at least a four-year delay if not longer  – despite all the government   talk about efficiency, accountability and integrity which are all absent in the “slowest ‘fast-track’ development project to nowhere”.

Kong Choy must explain what measures he had taken  to ensure that the Rawang-Ipoh double-tracking project does not become a mega-scandal involving corruption on a major scale with the attendant crimes of  criminal breach of trust and  abuse of  power.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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