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Sunday, August 30, 2020

How much to pay for fresh tender on KVDT 2 - Loke asks Wee


Former transport minister Anthony Loke urged his successor Wee Ka Siong to reveal how much compensation the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is paying Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd (DM-LTAT) to reopen the tender for the Klang Valley Double Tracking (Phase 2) (KVDT 2) project.
“Now that the contract has been cancelled by the PN government, please state how much is the estimated compensation that needs to be paid to DM-LTAT?
“What about the standing of LTAT (Armed Forces Fund Board)? Will the welfare of the employees who are army veterans be preserved?” asked Loke in a statement late last night.
He stressed that DAP and Pakatan Harapan remain supportive of implementing projects through open tenders.
He also pointed out that it was the then-transport minister Liow Tiong Lai, who was also former MCA president, who initially signed the project on April 4, 2018, a day before Parliament was dissolved for the 14th general election.
Loke added that he fully supports it if Wee wants to become a “champion” for open tenders now.
“Make sure that all public transportation projects and procurements at the Transport Ministry, including the purchase of trains for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) is done through open tender. Agreed?” said Loke.
Loke and Wee had traded barbs over the KVDT 2 project after Wee announced that the PN cabinet had agreed to reopen the tender for the project, after finding that continuing with the project based on direct tender was untenable.
The KVDT 2 was the most expensive contract awarded by the Pakatan Harapan administration without an open tender process.
Joint venture firm DM-LTAT was awarded the RM5.265 billion project during the BN administration. By 2019, the Harapan administration had pared down the bill to RM4.475 billion.
Loke yesterday addressed the plan to call for a fresh tender, which he said was inadvertently an admission by Wee that the RM5.265 billion price tag, initially agreed by Liow in 2018, was too high.
Liow Tiong Lai
Loke also affirmed he did inform the Harapan cabinet that an open tender process would reduce the project's cost to as low as RM3 billion.
However, the cabinet at the time decided not to cancel the project and retender it because of the legal risks involved, and it also did not want to delay the project any further.
Wee responded to Loke after that, saying it was strange for the former minister not to call for a fresh tender on KVDT 2 despite knowing that it was the cheaper option.
Wee, in his response, also appeared to have ignored Loke’s explanation of why the Harapan cabinet decided not to reopen a fresh tender for the KVDT 2.
In Loke’s response today, he said it was even stranger for Wee, who is a civil engineer, not to have offered his professional advice when the KVDT 2 project was first tabled and approved in the BN cabinet in 2017.
"Wee is very proud of his qualifications as a civil engineer who can professionally evaluate the value of infrastructure projects. I do not question his expertise.
"But the question is, why did he not give his professional advice when the KVDT 2 project was tabled and approved in the cabinet in 2017? Wasn’t he also a minister in the prime minister’s department from 2014 to 2018?" asked Loke.
He questioned why Wee did not fight for the KVDT 2 project to go through open tender during former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s administration, along with other mega-projects including the East Coast Rail Link.
“Isn’t that more strange?” Loke asked, adding "Do you not understand, or are you pretending not to understand? I have explained multiple times."
“The approval letter issued during BN’s administration on April 4, 2018, continued to bind the new government.
“If the contract was cancelled, compensation would have to be paid. That was the Harapan cabinet’s consideration when making the decision to continue the contract with DM-LTAT,” said Loke. - Mkini

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