PETALING JAYA: While a comprehensive transportation network is central to the ambitious Mass Rapid Transit 3 (MRT3) Circle Line project, it will also be geared towards developing the nation, rejuvenating the economy and increasing the country’s competitiveness in the region.
To reach these goals, there will be major changes to put a stop to dishonest practices, according to Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) CEO Zarif Hashim. MRT Corp is the project developer and asset owner.
The MRT3 Circle Line, which will run along the perimeter of Kuala Lumpur, is scheduled to be fully operational by 2030. The 51km line will be a combination of 40km of elevated tracks and 11km of tunnels.
For a start, there would be changes in the tender process to enhance the integrity of the exercise, Zarif said when briefing potential investors, contractors and businessmen yesterday.
In addition, affordable homes will be built above the multi-storey car park facilities in at least eight of its stops not just to maximise land use but also to alleviate the shortage of affordable homes in the city.
“While most companies talk about having a ‘no bribery’ policy, we will go a step further by placing hurdles in the system,” Zarif said.
For instance, fake avatar and diversions, akin to what is found in blockchain security, will be introduced in the evaluation process. This, Zarif said, would ensure security and traceability without compromising on integrity.
MRT Corp is expected to call for tenders for the project next month.
The initial estimate for construction cost is RM31 billion, similar to that for the MRT2 Sungai Buluh-Serdang-Putrajaya line which is expected to commence operations in the next quarter.
Land acquisition is expected to cost another RM8 billion but the ministry of finance has committed up to RM50 billion for the project.
Zarif said steps would be taken to prevent leakage of funds to ensure full benefit for consumers, contractors, workers and the economy.
In line with that, he said, those eager to win the tender should refrain from soliciting commercially confidential information from MRT employees. “That includes me. Please maintain integrity at all times,” he advised.
He said while many MRT staff would know something about the project, no one would know everything. “Just like how the blockchain security works, there will be noise storms, fake avatars and diversions in the process,” he added.
On the proposal to build affordable homes, Zarif said interested parties would be invited to develop them above the multi-storey car parks.
It will be a commercial undertaking, but the land cost will be borne by MRT Corp as these will be in the same location as the multi-storey car parks.
He warned developers against indulging in the Ali Baba practice of getting projects and then engaging others to build them. “Bidders will be required to reveal who the ultimate beneficial owners are, down to the individual. Bumi partners must be active players, and specific conditions will be imposed,” he added.
Zarif, an energetic person brimming with ideas, reiterated that the MRT3 was not just a construction project.
“It is a transformation initiative. It seeks new ways to develop the nation, rejuvenate the economy and enhance the country’s competitiveness in the region, but this transformation must be accompanied by a change in the management programme,” he said.
“We are looking for change leaders and Malaysian champions to work with us and the government in this journey,” he said.
Zarif said the top five winners in the tender process would not only be expected to look after the others in the Keluarga Malaysia spirit but to also come up with economic enhancement programmes to ensure that the impact of the MRT3 was felt by all, including those not in the construction sector.
Given that the objective of MRT3 is to rejuvenate the local economy, most contracts will go to Malaysian companies to minimise the outflow of foreign exchange. Nonetheless, minority foreign participation is expected in some contracts.
Zarif said steps would also be taken to reduce dependency on foreign labour to below 30%.
“The MRT3 project is also about nurturing local champions who will eventually have the talent and capability to undertake projects anywhere in the world, and hopefully our local SMEs can also stand to benefit from it.”
He hoped the project would provide the impetus needed to develop strong local rail system players who would be able to implement large turnkey system contracts or refurbish the entire rail system overseas. Zarif said the MRT3 project aimed to produce firms which would be capable of financing large system projects and have good maintenance track records.
“In order to grow competitive advantage, Malaysian companies must have our own technologies, techniques and intellectual property rights.”
Saying the MRT3 project would seek to enhance the Malaysian Industrialised Building System solution and modular construction, he added: “We need to change the construction method to reduce dependency on foreign labour.
“The MRT3 project will also employ vertical strategies to deepen and strengthen Malaysian rail technologies. We will need to elevate those technologies to meet global standards.”
Once completed, the MRT3 will improve rail connectivity in the Klang Valley, providing access to transit rail for those who do not have or have less access to public transportation services. It will form part of the Greater KL/Klang Valley Integrated Transit System and be linked to existing MRT, Light Rail Transit, KTM Komuter and monorail lines.
It will have 31 stations, including 24 elevated stations and seven underground stations.