Biggest mega project: RM43b MRT proposal


For what is expected to be the biggest mega project of them all, the RM43 billion Mass Rapid Transit proposal has received little prominent media publicity and most Malaysians remain in the dark about it.

The ‘unsolicited proposal’ for a 180-200km partly underground railway network in Kuala Lumpur by Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp is now undergoing feasibility studies by two government-appointed consultants, according to a report in The Star.

The actual project is expected to cost RM36 billion. Add land acquisition and rolling stock cost and the tab reportedly could come up to a jaw-dropping RM43 billion. (What about possible cost overruns?) That makes it the largest construction job under the Tenth Malaysia Plan.

The Gamuda MD is reported in the Star as saying the commercial investment return (IR) would be quite low though economically the IR would be quite high.

That might explain why the two firms are not interested in becoming the MRT operator. The Edge (14 June 2010) suggested that government-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, could end up with the tough job of actually owning and operating the system i.e. ‘holding the baby’ for the public.

The two firms are mostly interested in the lucrative tunnelling work, which has been estimated at RM14 billion, according to the Star report. The Edge had earlier estimated the figure at RM10.8 billion. Either way, we are talking big money here.

Let’s look at who the major shareholders of Gamuda Bhd are as at 15 October 2009: