Azmin part of committee to review MRT2 project

A committee has been set up to reduce the cost of the underground contract that was awarded to MMC-Gamuda for the MRT2 project. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali will be part of a committee set up to revisit the underground contract awarded to MMC-Gamuda for the MRT2 project.

Azmin said the committee would re-examine and scrutinise the project, to see how it could reduce the cost.

Asked when the committee would meet, Azmin said it would be soon.

“This is because we do not want to halt the project. We want to discuss, examine the project and decide on it as soon as possible,” he said after delivering his closing speech at the “China Conference” organised by the South China Morning Post.

Azmin was asked to confirm a Starbiz report today that a committee had been set up to revisit the project. He said it was the Cabinet’s decision.

Azmin also said that while the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government acknowledged the country’s huge debt, it would focus on sustainable economic growth.

“We want to focus on productive infrastructure growth, education and technology.

“This must be continued because we cannot stop all projects. That will impact the growth of our domestic economy,” he said.

On whether discussions will include claims that 20,000 workers will lose their jobs if the underground contract is terminated, the Gombak MP said the discussions would take the entire project into consideration.

“We will have to look at costing, the design, the details of the project and protecting the workers.

“We do not want anyone to lose their jobs,” he said.

Aside from Azmin, Starbiz reported that the committee will also include three other ministers, namely Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Works Minister Baru Bian and Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

The MMC-Gamuda consortium had said the termination of its contract to build the underground portion of the MRT2 project would result in immediate job losses to over 20,000 people involved in the project, from a supply chain of over 600 Malaysian companies.

“Of the 20,000, over 3,000 are made up of MMC-Gamuda joint venture staff. Of this, more than 60% are Bumiputeras,” it said in a statement in response to reports that the finance ministry had terminated the contract after failing to reach an agreement on reducing the cost of the project.

“In addition, the termination will unjustifiably expose MMC-Gamuda to a flood of lawsuits for compensation from terminated employees, sub-contractors, suppliers, manufacturers and so on, whose contracts will similarly be terminated due to no fault of theirs,” it said.

Lim had also given his assurance that the MRT2 project would continue, saying Putrajaya was committed to ensuring the scope was not unnecessary or excessive, and that the cost would be reasonable.

Lim’s political secretary, Tony Pua, launched a scathing attack on MMC-Gamuda, saying that prior to the finance ministry’s decision to terminate the contract for the underground portion, MMC-Gamuda had agreed to a cost reduction of RM2.13 billion to the contract value of RM16.71 billion.

However, this fell short of the ministry’s expectation of RM4.19 billion to RM5.79 billion in cost savings for the remaining 60% of works yet to be completed, as advised in a study done by an independent consulting engineer.