Wee makes riposte to Loke’s parry over Klang Valley rail project

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has rubbished his predecessor’s claim that cancelling the KVDT 2 project would have incurred legal and compensation costs.

PETALING JAYA: Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong has hit back at his predecessor, Loke Siew Fook, continuing the tit for tat between the two over the cost of the Klang Valley Double Tracking (Phase 2) or KVDT 2 project.

Noting that Loke had informed the Cabinet that the project’s estimated cost could be lowered to around RM3 billion to RM3.5 billion if it was re-tendered, Wee asked why the project was then continued at a higher price of RM4.475 billion.

He dismissed Loke’s earlier explanation that there would have been legal and compensation consequences if the contract was cancelled.

Referring to the PH Cabinet meeting minutes of Sept 19, 2018, Wee claimed the then government had made several U-turns on the project’s letter of consent, describing it as a “roller coaster”.

He also said Loke’s argument that PH had successfully lowered the cost of the project by 15% was misleading, arguing that lower costs and narrower job scopes were “two different things”.

“What was found in the KVDT 2 project proposal’s 15% cost reduction was that it was more due to lesser job scopes,” he said in a statement today.

Wee maintained that the current PN government’s decision to reopen the tender was made after the input of experts, professionals and companies who had long been involved in railway construction.

He urged Loke to be patient and wait for the project’s open tender decision, guaranteeing that the bidding price will be lower than RM4.475 billion.

“The reality is that PH, which declared they would practise open tenders for project contracts, had failed to do so during their 22-month rule.

“Conversely, Perikatan Nasional managed to conduct open tenders and even directed the KDVT 2 project to be re-tendered on the principle of optimising the use of public funds for this project.”

The project spans 110km, involving two KTM railway tracks – one from Salak South to Seremban and the other from a point between Kuala Lumpur Sentral and Angkasapuri to Port Klang.

The ministry’s decision to cancel the awarding of the project and reopen it for tender followed Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz’s revelation that the PH government had awarded 101 projects through direct negotiation.