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  1. #1
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    Kl mrt

    Now we know we are really scraping the bottom of the barrel. More and more power in the hands of the Prime Minister.

    Syed Hamid appointed as transport commission chief

    Jun 6, 10 5:06pm

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today announced the appointment of Syed Hamid Albar as the chairperson of the Public Land Transport Commission (SPAD), and Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal as its chief executive officer.


    The appointment of both Syed Hamid and Mohd Nur Ismal took effect on June 3, the day the commision was established, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office.

    The statement said the prime minister would also be appointing the commissioners for SPAD.

    "However, the announcement on the appointments will be made at a later date," the statement said.

    The commission was established after the Public Transport Commission Act 2010 and the Public Land Transport Commission Act 2010 were passed in Parliament on April 22.

    SPAD will play a major role in improving the public transportation system which is one of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) stipulated by the government.

    The Commission, which will be monitored by the prime minister, will bring all aspects related to land public transport in Malaysia under one governing body, starting with public transportation in the peninsula at the initial phase, and Sabah and Sarawak in the following phases.

    The statement also stated that the main objective in formulating the commission was to draft policies and laws concerning public transportation, and supervise and plan the service involving various modes of public land transportation.

    SPAD will also take over the duties of several government agencies like Department of Railway, the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) and the function of the Tourism Commissioner in the issuance of licences for tourist buses.

    - Bernama Malaysiakini. Subscription required.
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  2. #2
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    Kl mrt

    Syed Hamid Albar "Al Blur" is Land Transport Commission (LCT) Chairman. . That is the Death Valley where they send rejected politicians to die.

    Malaysia is getting super-efficient now. In the old days, it would have taken us at least 12 months to conduct a proper feasibility study.

    The feasibility study for the proposed Kuala Lumpur Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system will be completed next month. It only took 3 months to complete. Consultants are Minconsult Sdn Bhd and Andercon Technologies Ltd.

    These figures are interesting. The MRT is projected to cost RM 230M/km.

    The RM36 billion MRT system is said to be about 156km long, covering a radius of 20km from the city centre and will have a capacity of two million passengers per day.

    The LRT from Kelana Jaya at RM7B for 17km is estimated ot RM411M/km. Why is an LRT almost twice as expensive as an MRT? And DAP's Gobind Singh's idea of solving the Puchong transport problem is to extend the LRT from Putra Heights to Puchong.

    Problem with politicians: They don't know who to ask for advice. Malaysiakini. Subscription required.

    Pakatan Rakyat should propose the conduct of a comprehensive study of the Klang Valley Transportation System that considers all forms of transportation and not blindly jump on the LRT bandwagon. We have to maximize our bang for the buck. The rural areas are also crying for funds.
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    MRT: No stopping the 'MRT Express'

    No stopping the 'MRT Express'

    Josie M Fernandez
    Feb 4, 11
    7:19pm


    The clamour for better public transportation in Kuala Lumpur is increasing as traffic congestion worsens, taking its toll on the people's quality of life and affecting business productivity.


    A popular solution is a mass rail transit (MRT) system, which is a feature of most modern metropolises, among which KLites would like to count their city.

    Comparisons are drawn between the horrendous traffic jams that have become a standard feature of Kuala Lumpur, and the convenience and efficiency of MRT systems in cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo.

    Given the attraction that an MRT system would add to life in Kuala Lumpur, it may seem odd to ask whether the public interest is best served by the manner in which the MRT project is being implemented.

    Of course, it will be a big boon to whiz through the underground after enduring the initial disruption during its construction, which is expected to last for a decade.

    Open, participatory, accountable

    However, we owe it to ourselves to ensure that the decision-making process in this mammoth public infrastructure undertaking is open, participatory and accountable.

    It would be ironic to acquire a First World transportation system at a record price without the benefit of a transparent public procurement process.

    The MRT project gained prominence in public transport policy discussions when it was included as a proposal to make Greater Kuala Lumpur one of the drivers of economic growth under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that was unveiled in the middle of last year.

    Even in its early stages, the proposal generated much interest not least because the price tag, estimated at about RM36 billion, would make it the most expensive infrastructure project the country would undertake.

    Opinion had it that the cost would probably be higher because of the tunneling that would be required to be undertaken for the project.

    In comparison, the Bakun dam project has an official price tag of RM7.3 billion, not including cost overruns of RM1.7 billion, although external analysts estimate the final cost to be much higher.

    Another major infrastructure that could give the MRT project a run for its money is the Padang Besar-Johor Baru double tracking project, which will cost at least RM23 billion.

    Before the adoption of the MRT project, it is crucial that a study be conducted on the multi-modal public transport system of Kuala Lumpur in totality in order to determine which aspects of the system needs immediate attention, and which aspects should be undertaken in the middle and longer terms.

    Dispensing with the indispensable

    Such a study should have been the first priority of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD in Malay), which was established in June last year.

    This indispensable exercise has been skipped and we now find ourselves rushing into the most expensive of the public transportation options for Kuala Lumpur.

    Logically, other lower cost components of public transportation, including the bus, monorail, tram, light rapid transit and train systems need to be fully explored before we put our money into an MRT. Malaysians in urban centres in other parts of the country would rightly feel that a more cost-effective option for Kuala Lumpur would leave ample funds for the public transport systems in their cities to be upgraded.

    Instead, we have two prominent private companies, Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd, which decided to present a proposal for an MRT project to the government, reportedly last February. Subsequently, the Finance Ministry appointed two consultant firms, Minconsult Sdn Bhd and the Canada-based Andercon Technologies Ltd, to conduct a
    feasibility study for the MRT by last September.

    In effect, the public is presented with a fait accompli, and public participation in the decision-making process has been sidelined.

    Fast forward to January 31 2011, and the MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd announces that it has received a letter of award from the Ministry of Finance-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd to be the project delivery partner for the KL MRT project.

    SPAD has announced that the proposed routes will be put up for public display in March, the project will be open to bidders in April and land acquisition will take place in May and June.

    Good news for some, bad news for others

    The decision-making process for public transportation systems requires full transparency and multi-stakeholder participation to ensure that maximum benefit is derived from the project.

    All developers in the vicinity of the MRT system's alignment will be eager to have the MRT route pass through their projects, since this will cause a dramatic increase in their property values.

    However, what is good news for developers may not be so for residents who may be robbed of the tranquility of their homes because of increased traffic in their area.

    It is therefore crucial that the decisions on track alignment and the location of stations be open and impartial, so that the MRT captures the highest catchment of users instead of being influenced by developers that have clout with the authorities.

    This will help to make the project as financially viable as possible and serve the greatest number of users.


    SPAD chairman Syed Hamid Albar (right) has said that the MRT project would be funded entirely by the government where a special-purpose vehicle under the Finance Ministry would be set up to advise, manage and raise the funds.

    To ensure good governance, which is among the highlights of the National Key Result Areas approach now being promoted by the government, all bidders and partners in the MRT project should adopt the rules of transparency and accountability such as those contained in Transparency International's Integrity Pact, which will ensure that the financial and project management aspects of this massive exercise can come under public scrutiny.

    Above all, the onus is on the public, especially residents in Kuala Lumpur, to commit themselves to participating in the decision-making process of this project, the full costs of which are not known even though the groundwork for its rollout is advancing at a dramatic speed.

    Ready or not, KL will get its MRT project.



    JOSIE M FERNANDEZ is currently an Asian Public Intellectual Fellow, director of Philanthropy Asia, consultant and researcher. Working on sustainability, consumer protection,philanthropy and anti-corruption actions are some of her current passions besides writing. Malaysiakini. Subscription required.
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    MRT: Commuters will spend more with KL MRT, says research group

    Commuters will spend more with KL MRT, says research group
    By Clara Chooi
    February 13, 2011


    Najib (second left) and Cabinet ministers look at a model of the Greater KL redevelopment. — file pic
    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — The RM36.6 billion Kuala Lumpur Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project is based on outdated transport data and could cost commuters an extra RM403.5 million in fuel expenses within the first five years of operations, claims a local research group.


    Association of Water and Energy Research (Awer) president S. Piarapakaran said the extra burden on commuters is due to a lack of good supporting infrastructure to ferry commuters from their homes to the stations.

    “It is about access to the station, not just about the MRT system per se. While the MRT may serve the people well, we are still way behind in terms of transporting these commuters to the stations so that they can actually use the system,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

    According to the Klang Valley MRT website, the ambitious project will have 35 stations along its 51km line that stretches from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, with 13 proposed park-and-ride stations and four interchanges.

    Eight of the stations will be underground as 9.5km of the line will be built under the capital city. Groundworks for the MRT is due to start this July 16 and will be completed in 2016.

    Piarapakaran said Awer had conducted a financial modelling study two weeks ago to ascertain the likely losses to commuters once the MRT is operational.

    The additional losses, he explained, was based on fuel usage by those travelling to the MRT stations.



    “We took into consideration the government’s estimation that over 20 per cent of road users utilise public transport like taxis and buses and the remaining 80 per cent use their own individual vehicles.

    “So based on that, we are projecting the kind of traffic congestion that will likely occur when these commuters move from their homes to the stations,” he said.

    According to Awer’s projections, additional fuel costs to road users for the first five years of the MRT’s operations from 2016 to 2020 would likely total RM403.5 million.

    The study includes parameters like an estimated twice-daily traffic congestion (morning and evening) with 30 minutes of peak traffic, rate of passenger flow in an hour, 40 weeks of five working days for a year, RON 95 fuel cost (RM1.90 now and 10 per cent increase per year) and statistics of public transportation usage (20 per cent use public transport).

    “But these are just cautious estimates because we are just considering 30 minutes of peak congestion. The total amount could be even higher,” he said.

    Piarapakaran also claimed the multibillion ringgit project had yet to obtain approval from the Department of Environment (DOE) or complete its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

    “So I am wondering, why are they jumping the gun and announcing the project when it may not even be given the green light to go ahead.

    “The EIA process has not even been done yet and this takes time,” he said.

    Piarapakaran claimed that according to his sources, the DOE was scheduled to receive the EIA report from the project’s consultants by month-end.

    “But that does not end the process. You need to put it up for public review, then the EIA consultants need to re-submit the report. The process takes between one to two months,” he said.

    He added that consultants would also need to conduct a social impact study in their EIA report, which includes obtaining feedback and interviewing the local communities affected by the project.

    “As far as I know, most resident associations are against the project. So it looks like their views have not yet been taken into consideration,” he said.

    Piarapakaran said the local communities were worried the project would worsen congestion on the roads should more people opt to use the MRT system.

    “As it stands, we already have bad traffic jams. But now, these commuters will clog the roads in their journey to the stations... they will park and wait there to pick up or drop off passengers,” he said.



    He suggested that before the government proceeded with its plans to kick off work on the project, it needed to consider formulating a good feeder system to better connect passengers from their homes to the stations.

    “If you look abroad in railway systems in UK or Japan, for example, commuters often walk or use the feeder system provided to move from their homes to the stations. They do not even need to travel on the roads.

    “Here, the system is not conducive for commuters to walk to the stations,” he said.

    In a statement, Piarapakaran noted the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) had supported a transport study from February 1997 to March 1999 for the proposed MRT system.

    “But, this study was carried out during economic downturn and it was also based on previous statistics. Effectively data before 1996 will be used for estimations. This shows that, we will be constructing and operating the MRT after year 2016 with a 20 years gap in planning. Can we take such study as a valid study for implementation?” he asked.

    The MRT is an entry-point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area under the Economic Transformation Programme.

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last December that the implementation of the project is expected to generate a gross national income (GNI) of between RM3 billion and RM4 billion beginning in 2011 until 2020.

    He had said that between RM8 billion and RM12 billion was expected to be generated in terms of spin-offs from the construction of the MRT project.

    Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala said last month that physical work for the RM36.6 billion project will start on July 16.

    Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) announced yesterday that the proposed alignment for the MRT would be displayed to the public beginning next Monday.

    The Sungai Buloh-Kajang line is expected to carry 400,000 passengers daily when it begins and snowball to some 2.5 million in 2020, according to SPAD.

    Malaysia’s biggest infrastructure project will be integrated with the light rapid transit (LRT) system, the Monorail system, and the KTM Komuter system, said SPAD. http://<font color="orange"><u>TheMa......</u></font>
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    MRT: Pua politicising MRT, says SPAD chair

    Syed Hamid Albar is not called "Al' Blur" for nothing.

    Pua politicising MRT, says SPAD chair
    K Pragalath | February 24, 2011

    Taking a swipe at the DAP MP, Syed Hamid Albar says 'Pua is talking politics, while we look at the welfare of the people'.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Syed Hamid Albar has accused DAP MP Tony Pua of politicising the MRT issue.

    “He is talking politics whereas we are looking into the welfare of the people,” he said.

    Pua, who is the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, yesterday criticised SPAD for dismissing the effectiveness of the bus service.

    Syed Hamid said that bus operations would not be kept aside as “50% of the MRT commuters would be relying on bus transport services”.

    He told this after announcing the commencement of the south-bound bus services at the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan at Bandar Tasik Selatan here effective March 1.

    Puduraya would be used as a terminal for north-bound buses, said the former minister.

    Admin: Odd. MRT starts before the Public Transport Masterplan is unveiled and public feedback sought. Typical UMNO mindset.

    Asked about the Public Transport Masterplan, Syed Hamid said that it would be tabled in several months.

    He added that SPAD intended to integrate all public land transport before the tabling of the masterplan.
    On bus operations at the terminal, Syed Hamid told reporters that the 24-hour terminal currently hosts 15 bus companies.

    Once fully operational, 65,000 commuters would be able to utilise the facilities.

    Syed Hamid said that bus operators in Bukit Jalil would be required to move to the terminal or face legal action.

    “They can be fined RM50,000 or jailed for three years or both,” he added. FreeMalaysiaToday....
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    MRT: Tony Pua warns of MRT cost overruns and failed targets

    Tony Pua warns of MRT cost overruns and failed targets
    By Clara Chooi
    March 03, 2011


    KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — DAP MP Tony Pua warned today that Malaysia’s most expensive transport project — the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) — would likely suffer major cost overruns and fail to meet bloated targets, much like other mega-infrastructure rail projects around the world.

    The Petaling Jaya Utara MP revealed in a statement today that a UK-based study in 2009 had shown that a majority of mega rail projects in several nations had hit similar stumbling blocks, largely due to “political and organisational pressures”, resulting in “overestimated costs and underestimated benefits”.

    The study, called the “Survival of the unfittest: why the worst infrastructure gets built — and what we can do about it”, was conducted by Oxford professor Bent Flyvbjerg and was published in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy (2009).

    Flyvbjerg considered 258 “mega-infrastructure” projects across 20 countries and found that nine out of every 10 rail projects suffered from an average of 44.3 per cent of cost overruns.

    Early estimates have placed the Klang Valley MRT project, a three-line system, at a cost of RM36.6 billion but regulators Syarikat Prasarana Nasional Bhd and the government’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) have insisted that the figures were not final.

    In his study to measure the inaccuracy of travel demand forecasts, Flyvbjerg considered 208 projects in 14 nations on five continents.



    “He (Flyvbjerg) found that rail projects not only suffered from an average of 44.3 per cent of cost overruns but actual passenger traffic is 51.4 per cent lower than forecast traffic on average,” Pua (picture) said in his statement.

    In the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line for the first phase of the MRT, SPAD has targetted to ferry up to 40,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD).

    According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project, the SBK line is also estimated to have a daily ridership of 442,000 passengers in its opening year, expected to be in 2016.

    The figure has however been questioned by transport advocacy group Transit who claimed that this target was impossible to achieve with the MRT’s fleet of just 58 trains travelling the 90-minute route.

    “Other statistics found in the study were also no less encouraging — 84 per cent of rail passenger forecasts are wrong by more than ±20 per cent, and nine out of 10 rail projects have overestimated traffic,” Pua said.

    He added that Flyvbjerg had also found that cost overruns in the order of 50 per cent were common for major infrastructures while overruns above 100 per cent are “not uncommon”.

    “Also, he found that demand and benefit forecasts that are wrong by 20-70 per cent compared with actual development are common,” he said.

    Most worrying in Flyvbjerg’s study, said Pua, was the underlying reason behind the construction of mega-projects across the globe that were similar to Malaysia’s MRT and the consistency of cost-overruns and bloated targets in the project outcomes.

    “He (Flyvbjerg) claimed that ‘planners and promoters purposely spin scenarios of success and gloss over the potential for failure’ as the key cause of the over-promise and under-delivery,” he said.

    Pua pointed out this could be the case in Malaysia’s “MRT rush job”, with Gamuda-MMC as the project delivery partner.

    In his study, Flyvbjerg said that project proponents oftentimes made sure that the initiative looked highly-beneficial on paper despite having exaggerated its benefits.

    “Competition between projects and authorities creates political and organisational pressures that in turn create an incentive structure that makes it rational for project promoters to emphasise benefits and de-emphasise costs and risks.

    “A project that looks highly beneficial on paper is more likely to get funded than one that does not,” said the professor.

    This, he noted, eventually leads to a special formula to secure projects — “underestimated cost + overestimated benefits = funding”.

    Quoting from Flyvbjerg, Pua said: “Using this formula, the outcome is ‘the survival of the unfittest’ where ‘it is not the best projects that get implemented, but the projects that look best on paper.”

    “And the projects that look best on paper are the projects with the largest cost underestimates and benefit overestimates.

    “Therefore, the projects that have been made to look best on paper in this manner become the worst, or unfittest projects in reality, in the sense that they are the very projects that will encounter most problems during construction and operations in terms of the largest cost overruns, benefit shortfalls and risks of non-viability.

    “They have been designed like that, as disasters waiting to happen,” he concluded.

    Pua sounded warning bells that the MRT would likely repeat the same mistakes highlighted in Flyvbjerg’s study, citing Malaysia’s present rail system as an example.

    He explained that in the past, the government had to bail out the failed Star LRT (RM3.3 billion), the Putra LRT (RM4.5 billion), the KL Monorail (RM882 million) and privatised bus service operators (some RM200 million).

    “This has resulted in Prasarana, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, holding debts in excess of RM9 billion which it is unable to service, even the interest,” he said.

    The MRT, said Pua, should not become another “disaster waiting to happen” as a result of private sector promoters like Gamuda-MMC spinning “scenarios of success and glossing over potential for failure”.

    “And our government agencies like SPAD, Pemandu and Prasarana are swallowing them hook, line and sinker, rushing to ensure that the project gets funded and started in the shortest possible time, without proper independent checks, audit and competition,” he said.

    Since the MRT’s SBK line was put on display for public viewing, much doubt has been piled on the multibillion rail project.

    The MRT system is an entry point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) and aims to increase public transport modal share from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

    With the 40 per cent public transport modal share, the government hopes that at least four million trips of the estimated total of 10 million are made via public transport.

    The remaining six million trips will continue to be made via private vehicles.

    The MRT EIA is up for public viewing until March 15 at all DOE offices nationwide and several public libraries.

    The SBK alignment map is also up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

    They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

    The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to feedback@kvmrt.com.my or through the SPAD toll-free line at 1-800-82-6868. TheMalaysiaInsider....

    .................................................. ............................


    Saturday March 5, 2011

    MRT project cost now estimated to reach RM50b

    By EDY SARIF and THEAN LEE CHENG
    starbiz@thestar.com.my



    PETALING JAYA: The construction cost of the entire 150km Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) urban transport project may run up to RM50bil, three sources said, two of whom are directly involved in the project. The third is an independent party doing consulting work for the MRT line.

    “When Gamuda-MMC first gave an estimate a couple of years ago, a figure of RM36.6bil was brought up for the 150km line,” said the source who is directly involved with the project.

    “Now that we are concentrating on one line Sg Buloh-Kajang we have asked them for an estimate and they said it may cost RM18bil to RM20bil to construct. This does not include the rolling stock, land acquisitions and other provisions.”

    Land Public Transport Commission chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal said the Government was doing all it could to drive down the cost.

    “With land acquisition and rolling stock, it could come up to RM50bil, but it is too early to say,” he said. “We will know the full picture later as the project is still at the public display stage. This will end in middle of May.”

    “From the feedback, we will then consider the alignment and the length of the platforms for the stations, whether it is a four-car train or more,” Mohd Nur added.

    He said that once the public display was over, a target cost would be worked and agreed on. Once the tender was over, it may be different from the target cost, he said.

    “The MRT is not just a transport project. It will have a catalytic effect,” Mohd Nur said, adding that an independent party would scrutinise the project plans and ensure that optimum value was derived.

    The entire project will be fully funded by the Government and a special-purpose vehicle under the Finance Ministry would be set up to advise, manage and raise the funds.

    CIMB Research in its report yesterday said that the higher cost for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line was not a surprise as the earlier number was based on 2009 prices. (Higher construction cost and inflation may contribute to the current cost which is estimated to reach RM20bil for the Sg Buloh-Kajang line.)

    “Based on the average RM353m/km for the line, the entire MRT project (150km) could be worth RM53bil compared with the current estimate of RM36bil,” it said, commenting on the outcome of Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd's contractors' briefing on Thursday.

    The briefing was to provide an overview of the MRT project and the job opportunities available.

    The event was packed with more than 100 contractors, according to a Prasarana spokesman when contacted by StarBizWeek.

    Prasarana project director Zulkifli Mohammad Yusof and Datuk Azmi Mat Nor, who represented the Project Development Partner (PDP), chaired the event. (MMC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd manages the project as the PDP.)

    CIMB Research said the briefing focused on the Sg Buloh-Kajang MRT line's project structure, alignment specifications, tender guidelines/timelines and updated cost breakdown.

    “The main takeaways from the briefing were the prequalification process that will start this month and the total estimated cost for Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line that is RM20bil,” it said.

    It said Prasarana would start the ball rolling with the elevated structure package (elevated portion is worth RM10.8bil of the total cost of RM20bil) which would be broken up into several sub-packages and was open to all contractors except the PDP.

    “Priority will be given to contractors with financial strength, expertise and track record. Contractors who do not prequalify will still be able to bid for the subcontracting packages,” it said.

    It added that this suggested the awards were likely to take place no earlier than May 11, while the July 11 timeline for the start of work was still intact.

    Prasarana and the PDP will work together in rolling out the award of the MRT packages and disbursing the funds via progress payments.

    “Funding/payment will be drawn down from a special company under the Finance Ministry,” it said.
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    MRT: Public must not swallow MRT overruns, Pua says

    Public must not swallow MRT overruns, Pua says
    By Shannon Teoh
    March 06, 2011


    Pua said it presently seems as though there is no cap to the MRT’s costs. — file pic
    KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — Gamuda-MMC must bear any increase over their own RM36.6 billion valuation for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) after new estimates put the cost at over RM50 billion for the first line, DAP’s Tony Pua said today.


    The Petaling Jaya Utara MP questioned whether the government was determined to go ahead and “build at whatever cost” after it admitted that the total cost of the new transport system would be higher than project delivery partner (PDP) Gamuda-MMC’s initial RM36.6 billion estimate.

    If the contract was awarded based on the PDP’s own estimates, then Gamuda-MMC must be bound by its estimates and cost overruns should not be borne by the government, the DAP national publicity secretary said in a statement today.

    “It makes a mockery of SPAD’s earlier claim that the Gamuda-MMC joint venture will bear all increases in costs,” he added, referring to the regulator, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD)

    SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal said yesterday that “the government was doing all it could to drive down the cost” but land acquisition and the price of rolling stock could push the price up to RM50 billion.

    A CIMB Research report also said that, based on an average cost of RM353 million per kilometre, the entire 150km project could end up costing RM53 billion.

    “The dramatic escalation of cost estimates for the Klang Valley MRT project before even the expected commencement of works in July... raises big question marks as to whether the project can ever be completed on time, and within budget,” Pua said.

    He argued that the increase in the estimate necessitates a reassessment of the project on its continued viability and the risks involved.

    Pua said that Mohd Nur Ismal’s statement made it clear that there was no fixed price for the project and appeared to suggest the government will push ahead no matter what the final bill turns out to be.

    “Will the government continue with the project even if the cost were to escalate to RM60 or RM70 billion?” he asked.

    He added that the government’s new cost estimate raised concerns that it has not conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis to determine the point at which the direct and indirect costs become sufficiently high for the project to either be deferred or discontinued.

    Pua then called for SPAD to disclose the PDP contract so that it could be known if there were guarantees against cost overruns as Gamuda-MMC was essentially the main contractor to the project.

    SPAD must also disclose its detailed cost-benefits analysis of the MRT project for public scrutiny, along with any checks and balances to prevent both the government and the public from being taken for a ride, he said.



    Since the MRT’s initial Sungai Buloh-Kajang line was put on display for public viewing, much doubt has been piled on the multibillion rail project.

    The MRT system is an entry point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) and aims to increase public transport modal share from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

    With the 40 per cent public transport modal share, the government hopes that at least four million trips of the estimated total of 10 million are made via public transport.

    The remaining six million trips will continue to be made via private vehicles.

    Click to view detailed project image

    TheMalaysiaInsider....


    ---------- Post added at 02:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:02 PM ----------

    PKR calls for freeze on MRT plans
    By Clara Chooi
    March 08, 2011

    KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — PKR demanded today that the government temporarily shelve its plans to build the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system pending the formation of a parliamentary select committee to oversee details of the project.



    Party vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar told a press conference in Parliament today that this was because the MRT, touted as the most expensive construction project in the country to date, was mired in too many questions regarding its cost estimate and the selection of its project delivery partner (PDP).

    The Lembah Pantai MP questioned the government’s selection of Gamuda-MMC as the PDP, claiming that she had information that Scomi Group Berhad had proposed to construct a similar rail system at a lower cost.

    “We heard from reliable sources that Scomi has given a proposal for a similar public transport project in Kuala Lumpur for RM25 billion.

    “We ask the government to clarify and, if indeed this is true, to state why their proposal was rejected in favour of Gamuda-MMC,” she said.

    Initial estimates from Gamuda-MMC have placed the cost of the three-line MRT system at a whopping RM36.6 billion, making it the most expensive construction project ever undertaken by the government.

    According to regulators Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), the project will be wholly funded by the government through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to be set up by the Finance Ministry.

    “We are aware that the MRT is the single largest public infrastructure project in Malaysia and while its realisation will bring benefits to Klang Valley residents, the project is still mired with too many questions.

    “The cost of the MRT may even balloon to four times that of the (RM12.5 billion) Port Klang Free Zone project. Furthermore, there is the lack of integration plans to the present rail system,” said Nurul Izzah (picture).

    She added that Gamuda-MMC’s experience was in “rail-based and tunnelling”, which was insufficient compared to Scomi.

    “Scomi is one of only two integrated monorail system providers in the world to offer end-solutions including the design, fabrication and integration of the monorail rolling stock and related electromechanical systems,” she said.

    She added that Scomi was also a Malaysian firm that has been successful in its bids for projects in the Middle East, South America and Asia Pacific.

    “I am not promoting them here but if they are cheaper, why were they not considered by the government?

    “Hence, on behalf of PKR, we want a stop-work order issued on the project and a parliamentary select committee formed to oversee details of the MRT.

    “We want to make sure that the best proposal presented is the best one implemented,” she said.

    The MRT system is an entry-point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) and aims to increase public transport modal share from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

    With the 40 per cent public transport modal share, the government hopes that at least four million trips of the estimated total of 10 million are made via public transport.

    The remaining six million trips will continue to be made via private vehicles.

    The Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line, the first of three lines in the project, is estimated to have a daily ridership of 442,000 passengers in its opening year, expected to be in 2016.

    The SBK alignment map is up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

    They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

    The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to feedback@kvmrt.com.my or through the SPAD toll-free line at 1-800-82-6868. TheMalaysiaInsider....
    py

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    MRT study: Pua questions McKinsey appointment

    MRT study: Pua questions McKinsey appointment
    By Clara Chooi
    March 09, 2011

    KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — DAP MP Tony Pua questioned today the appointment of McKinsey & Co to study the MRT, pointing out that the American consultancy was the same firm used to set up the rail project’s proposer — Pemandu.

    The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said that as McKinsey also works with Pemandu, its appointment as the MRT’s consultants raised doubt as to whether it would conduct a fair analysis of the multi-billion ringgit rail project.

    “But all studies done — whether from before or in the future — must be in the open. After all, there is not issue of national security in the MRT so the studies should be made public,” he said.

    The Star reported today that McKinsey had been hired to carry out a value management study (VMS) on the proposed MRT project, which is presently undergoing a public scrutiny process.

    Quoting the government’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal, the newspaper reported that the VMS is to help decide the selection of the proposed alignment and station locations to “make cost most effective”.

    At the same time, it added, the study would also “consider the factor of helping unlock the full potential of real estate values in locations where stations are located”.

    “The VMS will also design a procurement policy which will ensure cost savings and prevent any extravagant spending,” Mohd Nur was quoted as saying.

    Pua also accused the MRT project regulators for being insincere in its procurement of public feedback, pointing out that even before the exercise was over, tenders were already being prepared for issuance next month.

    “It shows how much weight they are putting into the public feedback. It has become quite clear that the exercise is for show.

    “Feedback is collected but there is no intention of ever having them be integrated into the project management and decision-making,” he said.

    Work on the MRT system is scheduled to kick off in June and the government has given its assurance that the three-month public feedback exercise would be instrumental in helping to improve the system.

    Pua stressed that he was not against the MRT as the system was much needed to improve the country’s fragmented public transportation system but noted that the project should be cost-effective.

    “But the way it is being conducted now, it is rushed, and does not give any confidence that it is a value-for-money project,” he said.

    Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng agreed and pointed out that the country’s existing rail system was fragmented and “confusing”.

    “Do not repeat the same mistakes of the past. Why don’t we do our homework first ... we are talking about a project worth billions here ... not one or two (billion) or ten but maybe up to RM53 billion.

    “A one per cent leakage is already RM530 million,” he warned the government.

    Initial cost estimates for the MRT were set by project delivery partner (PDP) Gamuda-MMC at RM36.6 billion, but Pua noted that the figure could balloon to RM50 billion or RM53 billion.


    Tony Pua said the appointment of McKinsey & Co was a possible conflict of interest.
    This, he explained, had been cited in The Star and CIMB Research recently.


    “This is despite the fact that the project has yet to take off on the ground and raises major concerns as to whether it will fall victim to similar features cited in the Flyvbjerg study,” he said.

    Pua was referring to findings by Oxford Professor Vent Flyvbjerg that he highlighted in the media recently which states that rail projects worldwide often suffered from cost overruns and overestimated targets.

    “Flyvbjerg found that rail projects not only suffer from an average of 44.3 per cent in cost overruns but actual passenger traffic is 51.4 per cent lower than the forecast traffic average,” he said.

    Also citing from Flyvbjerg’s study, Pua suggested that the Malaysian government consider the measures listed by the professor to prevent such excesses.

    The first measure, said Pua, was that all forecast and business cases should be made subject to independent peer review and “scientific and professional conferences should be organised where forecasts would present and defend their forecasts in the face of colleagues’ scrutiny and criticism”.

    Next, Pua said that forecasters and their organisations should share financial responsibility for covering cost overruns and benefit shortfalls resulting from misrepresentation and bias in forecasting.

    Another suggestion is that public hearings, citizen juries and the like should be organised to allow stakeholders and civil society to voice criticism and support of forecasts.

    “Knowledge generated in this way should be integrated in project management and decision making,” said Pua.

    Finally, he said Flyvbjerg also suggested that all forecasts, peer reviews and benchmarking be made available for public scrutiny, including by the media.

    “Fyvbjerg also argued that projects with inflated benefit-cost ratios should be reconsidered and stopped if recalculated costs and benefits do not warrant implementation.

    “Project-realistic estimates of benefits and costs should be rewarded,” he said.

    The MRT system is an entry point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) and aims to increase public transport modal share from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

    With the 40 per cent public transport modal share, the government hopes that at least four million trips of the estimated total of 10 million are made via public transport.

    The remaining six million trips will continue to be made via private vehicles.

    The MRT Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is presently up for public viewing until March 15 at all Department of Environment offices nationwide and several public libraries.

    The Sungai Buloh-Kajang line alignment map is also up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

    They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council, Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

    The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to feedback@kvmrt.com.my or through the SPAD toll-free line at 1-800-82-6868. TheMalaysiaInsider....
    py

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    MRT proposal fails integration test, says Pua

    Pakatan Selangor should just declare: No proper feasibility study to compare different modes of transportation and integration of stations, no MRT. The MRT has to pass through Selangor and need Selangor land. What is so difficult about this?




    Ample land to the west of 1 Utama mall 1km from the proposed MRT station, where a large car park and a growing bus hub is located.
    TheMalaysiaInsider....
    py

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    MRT bosses ignoring Pakatan MPs, says Siva

    MRT bosses ignoring Pakatan MPs, says Siva
    Patrick Lee | March 11, 2011

    It appears that opposition representatives have no say in the project, even if the trains pass through their constituencies.

    PETALING JAYA: Pakatan MPs are often left out of consultations on the proposed Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system even though the trains will run through the areas they represent.

    When they do respond to questions from opposition representatives, officials of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) tend to give incomplete answers, according to Subang MP R Sivarasa of PKR.


    Speaking to reporters here today, he said he was at a Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) meeting in late January when SPAD officials dropped the MRT bombshell.

    The attending SPAD officers raised the subject out of the blue, he said. “I was there for totally different reasons.”

    The officers were accompanied by representatives of Gamuda-MMC, SPAD’s delivery partner in the MRT project. They needed MBPJ’s approval to build train stations in Petaling Jaya.

    He said SPAD did not bother to call MPs and state assemblymen for the areas that the trains would pass through.

    At least four of the proposed stations would be built in Sivarasa’s constituency.

    He said the officials gave a presentation about the MRT proposal, but did not give satisfactory answers to questions posed afterwards.

    “I asked them why stations were here and not there, and their answer was, ‘It’s because there’s another line coming from somewhere else,’” he said.

    “That’s when I learned that there were other lines. So I asked them for the locations of the other lines, but they told me they didn’t have the information.”

    He said he blew his top. “I said, ‘How do you expect us to understand your rationale when you’re not telling where your other line is?’

    “This is the biggest project in the history of Malaysia, and you come to the public with partial info, and justify it with a half baked rationale.”

    Sivarasa said the government needed to have more public consultations before going ahead with the controversial RM53 billion project.

    Despite heavy public criticism against the MRT, the government appears determined to go ahead with it. It will call for tenders for various sub-contract works in April and award the contracts by June. Construction is expected to start in July. FreeMalaysiaToday....
    py

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