The entire tender process for the first phase of the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) project is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, in a bid to deliver an “operational MRT system” by December 2016.
Current project owner Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad said construction of the ambitious project is tentatively scheduled to start by January or February next year, immediately after they award the first two tender packages along the proposed Sungai Buloh-Kajang route.
The company's MRT procurement management department head Abdul Malik Azman said the first two tender packages - which are for elevated civil works in Cheras between the planned Maluri and Bandar Tun Hussein Onn stations - will be opened to pre-qualified contractors in the first week of September.
Prasarana will first open bids for Viaduct Package 6, from Phoenix Plaza to Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, to bumiputra contractors on Sept 5 followed by an open tender for Viaduct Package 5, from Maluri to Phoenix Plaza, the following day.
“By the end of next year, all work packages would have already been awarded,” Abdul Malik said at a press conference after a tender process briefing for contractors who were short-listed to compete for 18 tender packages that make up the Sungai Buloh-Kajang route.
A total of 28 individual and joint-venture companies qualified to apply for the tender packages, which are split into three categories - elevated civil works (eight packages), station construction (eight packages) and depot construction (two packages).
The Sungai Buloh-Kajang route is the first of three lines proposed under the MRT, considered to be the country's most expensive infrastructure project to date. Estimates by CIMB Research earlier this year set the cost at a whopping RM56 billion, nearly twice the government's 2009 estimates of at least RM36.6 billion.
The project has been described as an “economic entry point” for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang valley National Key Economic Area under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's Economic Transformation Plan (ETP).
Price ceiling for building materials
To keep tabs on construction material costs, Abdul Malik said they intend to issue an open tender to suppliers for segmented box girders (SBG), noise barriers and steel bars to make sure they can maintain a consistent price for all contractors who are awarded the construction packages.
He said negotiations for SBGs and noise barriers will be a one-off affair - which means the price will remain the same throughout the project timeframe.
“But for steel bars it will be slightly different. We will have to (offer tenders) frequently because we cannot buy steel bars for the entire period. We need to buy steel bars on a short-term basis, as the (global) price fluctuates quite a lot,” he said.
On the stretch of seven stations that will be built underground between the Semantan station near Bukit Damansara and the Maluri station in Cheras, Abdul Malik said they are still going through a list of 15 local and foreign companies vying for this section of the project.
He explained that the underground section will be offered as a separate open tender outside of the 18 packages, but declined to give a timeframe for when they will come up with a shortlist of pre-qualified contractors for this segment.
Abdul Malik only volunteered that the contractor who eventually wins the tender will be responsible for building both the tunnel and all the stations that will service that section of the route. – Malaysiakini.com