KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Infrastructure firm Prasarana Malaysia Bhd had inflated the cost of the LRT3 project from merely RM9 billion to now RM31.65 billion by “needlessly expanding” the scope of the project, Malaysiakini reported.
Citing one source in the Ministry of Finance who declined to be named, the report said this included benchmarking the size of light rail transit stations to their mass rapid transit (MRT) counterparts.
“Along the way, the requirements and specifications were oversized, over-designed and unnecessarily accelerated,” the source reportedly said.
“Examples include benchmarking the LRT stations to MRT size, luxury finishing, iconic designs, tripling train capacity compared to feasibility studies, and building tunnels and underground stations at low-ridership locations.
“As a result, the cost of construction, before adding all other costs, already increased from the announced RM9 billion to RM15.8 billion that was awarded in January this year,” he added.
None of the claims reported could be verified, and Malaysiakini did not provide another source who backed the allegation.
On July 10, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the 37km-long LRT3 project’s estimated cost of RM31.65 billion was due to “poor management” by Prasarana, adding that the cost must be drastically reduced by more than RM6 billion for the project to be feasible and for the government to allow it to proceed.
Two days later, Putrajaya greenlit the 37km project after Prasarana showed it was able to cut cost by nearly half to RM16.63 billion, and save the government RM15.02 billion.