No plan to reopen tender for LRT3, says Guan Eng

Lim Guan Eng. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government has no plans to reopen the tender for the Light Rail Transit Line 3 (LRT3) project.

Lim was responding to Reezal Merican Naina Merican (BN-Kepala Batas) who asked whether the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would reopen the tender for the LRT3 project as rates and specifications had been changed or decreased.

“In terms of compensation, we have to pay. It is more than RM4.2 billion if we want to call for open tender again. This is not a cost we can bear.

“Because the compensation fee is so high, it is not suggested that we reopen this tender,” said Lim in replying to questions relating to his ministry at the Parliament.

Reezal had then pointed out that the project delivery partners (PDP) had failed to keep the cost of the LRT3 at RM9 billion, which was the original cost at the time the deal was finalised.

“Would it not be better to reopen the tender since the PDP has failed?” he asked, adding that it would also be a more transparent process.

Lim replied it was the former Barisan Nasional (BN) administration which accepted the increased costs when it first exceeded RM9 billion, and it was Prasarana Bhd itself which requested an additional RM22 billion (from Putrajaya) for the project.

“Now we can only re-examine (the LRT3 project) so that we can reduce costs, we do not have a choice.

“We have to find a middle path where we do not have to pay compensation, have the LRT3 for the Klang Valley residents and at the same time reduce costs.

“The fact that we reduced the project’s cost from RM31 billion to RM16 billion is a huge success for the PH government because we managed to save the rakyat’s money,” he said.

Earlier last month, it was reported that the LRT3’s projected cost had spiralled to RM31.45 billion.

Lim reportedly blamed it on Prasarana Malaysia Bhd’s poor management.

News reports stated that the latest cost estimate was significantly higher than the RM15 billion cited in recent news reports. The original estimate when the project was launched in 2015 was RM9 billion.

Lim also said the finance ministry would not support any additional funding required for the project unless the cost was “significantly rationalised without compromising the rail network’s integrity as well as the safety and quality of service provided”.