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KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 ― Kidex Sdn Bhd, the developer of the planned super elevated Kinrara-Damansara Expressway, has insisted that its RM2.42 billion contract for the project was awarded based on merit and through an open tender process.
The planned 14.9km long highway has come under intense scrutiny from the public and the opposition due to the scarcity of publicly available data. The tender process which gave the contract to KIdex Sdn Bhd has also been questioned.
Kidex chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Nor Idrus denied allegations that Putrajaya had awarded the concession agreement through direct negotiation, saying his company was among several others who had submitted a proposal for the project back in 2010.
“In 2010 we were one of those invited to submit proposal for this particular north-south (highway) alignment,” he told The Malay Mail Online in an exclusive interview.
But Mohd Nor said he did not know how many other companies had competed in the tender.
The former traffic engineer said after handing in the initial proposal, Kidex was given a “letter of exclusivity” in May 2011 allowing the firm to undertake the preliminary studies needed before it could submit a full proposal to the federal government.
“After that subsequent traffic studies, refinement was done, 22 agencies were involved and only in November 2013 we signed the concession agreement,” he said.
The 22 agencies include the Works Ministry, Finance Ministry, Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Defence Ministry (Mindef) and Highway Planning Unit (HPU).
“From 2010 to 2013 it took us three years to develop project as it is now. As far as I am concerned, there was competitive bidding.
“I have always maintained the award was based on merits not a direct negotiation...if it was direct negotiation we should have gotten it much earlier,” Mohd Nor said.
Malaysia’s Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof told the Malay Mail Online recently that a conditional agreement for the project was in place but declined did not give any further details.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers and residents objecting the planned highway plan have questioned the tender process, claiming that the firms which owned Kidex Sdn Bhd were politically linked to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
Kidex Sdn Bhd is owned by Emrail Sdn Bhd and Zabima Engineering Sdn Bhd.
Umno lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun is listed as Zabima Engineering's company director and Emrail's chairman while Toh Puan Nik Sazlina Mohd Zain, wife of former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi is listed as Emrail's company director.
According to its official website, Zabima Engineering is a PKK Class A and CIDB G7 registered company incorporated in 1982 under the Companies Act 1965 and that it specialises in infrastructure construction particularly road works, including pavement and bridges, general civil construction as well as water and waste water treatment facilities.
It holds the necessary accreditations (PKK Class A and CIDB G7) so that it can bid for government contracts.
Emrail is a private limited company incorporated on 2 March, 1973 . It is currently a full-fledged railway engineering company involved in telecommunication and infrastructure development projects, mechanical and electrical works, civil construction and power utility works.
Some residents have expressed concerns that the proposed super-elevated KIDEX highway, said to be up to 24 metres high, could obstruct existing views.
Among the areas that could be affected by the project are Tropicana Mall, SS2 Mall, Rothman’s traffic lights, Section 14, Amcorp Mall, Hilton Petaling Jaya, Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, Jalan Templer roundabout, Taman Datuk Harun, Taman Medan Baru and Bandar Kinrara.
Construction of the multi-billion ringgit highway could begin as soon as next year and be completed by 2018.
According to two parliamentary replies on the matter by the works minister, a number of conditions came with the project, and the Selangor government agreed to the highway construction proposal two years ago.
On November 12 last year, Fadillah told Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian that Selangor state had agreed to plans to build the highway through a letter by the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) dated February 23, 2012.
On April 11, the Works Ministry told Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo that KIDEX must fulfill a “condition precedent” 12 months before the concession agreement is enforced and that a “public survey” was also a necessary pre-condition.
The minister’s reply stated that the project cannot go ahead if public feedback is negative.
The reply also said that construction work is slated to begin next year if there were no objections.