PETALING JAYA: Is the government willing to bear full responsibility for any rail accidents that might arise because of the delay in completion of the Klang Valley Double Tracking Phase 2 contract, a veterans group said today.
Retired brigadier-general Mohamed Arshad Raji, president of the National Patriots Association, posed the questions following a warning by the railway workers union over the project, which has been held up in a contract dispute.
Arshad questioned why the government had cancelled the contract awarded to Dhaya Maju-Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (Dhaya Maju-LTAT), and asked if the contractor had failed in their work.
“If work was progressing normally, why terminate the contract and award it to some other contractor? If escalating cost is the problem, why couldn’t a cost review be undertaken, rather than terminating the contract?” he said.
“Terminating a contract as large and important as this rail project, and appointing a new contractor, is easier said than done.
“There are many factors to be looked at, most importantly the assured performance of the new contractor, and a further delay to complete the project will be expected,” he said.
Delays would affect Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd’s revenue, he said.
Yesterday, KTMB workers’ union president Abdul Razak Md Hassan had said that there would be severe safety and economic consequences from delays to the double-tracking project.
Abdul Razak told FMT that the KVDT2 project entailed the replacement of the 26-year-old worn and weather-beaten tracks. Without it, trains run the risk of derailments and delays.
“We don’t care who gets the contract. Our concern is that for each day the project is delayed, the safety risk to passengers and our staff grows,” he said. His warning came in the wake of the LRT train collision near Kuala Lumpur City Centre last week, in which more than 200 passengers were injured.
The KVDT2 project has been tied up in a court case after the government cancelled the contract originally awarded to Dhaya Maju-LTAT in early 2018.
It has been delayed twice. Both the Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional administrations terminated the award, citing costs.
Dhaya Maju-LTAT’s contract was cancelled in October 2018 only to be reinstated in July 2019 after the PH government conceded there was no basis to terminate the contract. Costs were however reduced in line with reductions in the scope of work.
Last September, the PN administration cancelled the company’s contract again, ultimately leading to a dispute that has gone to court.