ECRL developers to issue tenders for railway’s civil works, will retain previously suspended contractors

A general view of the ECRL construction site in Dungun, Terengganu July 25, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
A general view of the ECRL construction site in Dungun, Terengganu July 25, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) developer is set to issue tenders for civil works projects for the said mega railway construction in the fourth quarter of this year, Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) Sdn Bhd said today.

In a statement issued, MRL said that the China Communications Construction East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCCECRL) would also retain its previously hired contractors who were then temporarily suspended, after Pakatan Harapan (PH) halted the project for a review of its cost.

MRL said that to date, 331 local construction companies have been shortlisted as potential tenderers, after a pre-qualification (pre-q) exercise.

“CCCC had earlier called for submission of pre-q documents on May 29 and May 30, 2019, in an effort to identify potential local subcontractors for the 40 per cent civil works (excluding tunnel works) portion of the project.

“A pre-q evaluation committee consisting of representatives from MRL and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), had shortlisted 331 or 25.1 per cent of 1,321 Malaysian construction companies following detailed evaluation of each entity’s track record, financial capabilities, technical personnel and plant & equipment.

“Prior to the suspension of the ECRL project, there have been local companies consisting of suppliers, contractors, and consultants that were appointed by CCCC for preliminary works on the ECRL. These contracts were suspended following the suspension of the ECRL project on July 3, 2018.

“Nevertheless, with the resumption of the ECRL project, CCCC will honour the respective contracts and enable the local companies concerned to resume work,” MRL added.

It said that all shortlisted companies are expected to be notified in writing before the end of this month by CCCC, which is the engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (EPCC) contractor for the 640km ECRL project.

MRL’s chief executive Datuk Sri Darwis Abdul Razak said that tender packages to be issued for the 40 percent civil works (excluding tunnel works), would first involve the 223-km stretch from Dungun to Mentakab where the rail alignment had been finalised.

He added that the tenders for local contractors would, however, be continuously be called throughout the construction period of the ECRL.

Darwis added that further tenders for the project meanwhile, would be called once both the re-alignment from Kota Bharu to Dungun, as well as new Southern alignment between Mentakab and Port Klang have been firmed up, noting that completion of the ECRL by end of 2026 also hinges on the effective participation of local contractors in ECRL’s civil works.

These include earthworks, foundation works, structural works, soil improvement works and road works.

MRL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated (MFI), and is the project and asset owner of the ECRL.

The 640km rail network is scheduled for completion by December 2026 and expected to link Kota Baru to Putrajaya in approximately 4 hours.

The ECRL as officially relaunched on July 25, after a temporary suspension

In April, Putrajaya announced the improved deal with China on the ECRL, which involved a supplementary agreement between MRL and the China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) following months of negotiations.

The construction cost for Phases 1 and 2 of the ECRL was reduced to RM44 billion from its original cost of RM65.5 billion.

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