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Monday, June 16, 2008

Tenders may be called

The government may call for tenders for the Gemas-Johor Baru railway project by the year-end, says a government source.

A source from the Ministry of Transport said it was in the government's interest to complete the southern portion of the country's electrified double tracks.

"The government will call for tenders, but this is subject to the mid-term review.

"The single tracks are now running from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur and from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth. So the whole stretch of the double tracks must be completed to improve efficiency," he told Business Times.

An industry source said that DRB-HICOM Bhd and IJM Corp Bhd may bid for the RM8 billion contract to lay new rail tracks connecting Gemas in Negri Sembilan to Johor Baru.

DRB-HICOM, a car and banking group that also has expertise in engineering, is expected to submit a detailed proposal comprising design, layout and cost structure to the government in the second half of the year.

"DRB-HICOM is keen to work on the double tracks. They may either work with a local or foreign party in securing the contract or bid for it on their own," the source said.

The source said DRB-HICOM had previously made a presentation to the government for the project late last year.

Key executive officials of DRB-HICOM were not available for comment at press time.

The project involves building over 200km of parallel railway tracks, including stations, depots, halts, yards and bridges.

Work will also cover systems such as electrification, signalling and communications.

Both DRB-HICOM and IJM are experienced in railway work.

IJM is one of three sub-contractors for the RM3.45 billion Seremban-Gemas double-tracking railway project.

IJM managing director Datuk Krishnan Tan Boon Seng, however, told Business Times through e-mail that IJM was not involved in any submission for the Gemas-Johor Baru stretch.

DRB-HICOM, meanwhile, was a main contractor for the RM4.6 billion Rawang-Ipoh double-tracking project awarded in 2000.

However, the project faced delays and the government eventually asked UEM Builders Bhd to complete it.

The Rawang-Ipoh project was finally completed last year.

Malaysia's other double-tracking project is the RM12.5 billion rail link between Ipoh and Padang Besar. This is being done by Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd, and slated for completion in 2013.

By New Straits Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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