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Monday, January 30, 2012

Reveal details of highway deal, TI-M tells Putrajaya

January 30, 2012

The concession allows KEuro to collect tolls on the WCE for 60 years. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) is pressing Putrajaya to publicly disclose the details of the West Coast Expressway (WCE) deal, which the watchdog has criticised as opaque.
TI-M said the government should reveal the terms and conditions of the concession agreement and how it was awarded, given the “unprecedented” concession period and the high degree of public funding for the RM7.07 billion project.
“This will help show that the government is committed to tackling graft in Malaysia through better disclosure and governance and consistency in implementation of integrity compliance measures in all public projects,” it said in a statement today.
TI-M also said the “megaproject” would be an ideal candidate for the integrity pact (IP), which it described as a tool for curbing corruption risks in public contracting projects.
It pointed out that the government had recognised the potential benefits of the IP in a Treasury circular dated December 16, 2010 — which outlined guidelines for implementing such pacts in government procurements — and added that MRT Corp had already agreed to incorporate the IP in its procurement exercises.
Kumpulan Europlus Bhd (KEuro) announced on Thursday that it has been awarded a 60-year concession for the RM7.07 billion WCE, which will connect Banting in south Selangor to Taiping in north Perak. The new highway will serve as an alternative to the North-South Expressway.
The public-listed company will enjoy a RM2.24 billion federal soft loan at four per cent interest and an interest subsidy of up to three per cent from commercial loans for a period of 22 years.
The land acquisition cost amounting to RM980 million will also be borne by the government.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has censured the government for awarding the WCE to KEuro, which primarily produces granular and powder-activated carbon.
Party publicity chief Tony Pua has also questioned the doubling of construction costs and the concession period, noting that the highway originally cost RM3.02 billion when it was first proposed in May 2007, with a concession of only 33 years.
“It seems that the more the government negotiates, the higher the contract value and the more favourable the contract terms will be for the contracting business entities,” Pua said today.

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