Suggestions PM interfered in award of Ampang line extension LRT project baseless, says Prasarana

(Bernama) – Suggestions in the media that the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Finance, interfered in the award of the Ampang line light rail transit (LRT) extension project are baseless and uncalled for.

On the contrary, the government is still in the process of undertaking a due diligence of the multi-billion ringgit project, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana) Media Manager Azhar Ghazali said in a statement today.

“As the chairman for the RM300 million and above tender awards, the Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister, is dutifully bound to moderate all recommendations and decide together with the committee members the award of or seek more clarifications if required from the said tender.

“It will be unfair to misconstrue the due process using any other terms such as “interfere” when the committee is vested with the required level of authority to make the necessary decisions,” he said.

Prasarana, the operator and asset owner of the LRT Line extension project, expressed concern over statements made in the media by various quarters that the government was meddling in the award of the Ampang LRT line extension contract.

Saying such talk was unfair, Azhar said that to date no final decision has been made on the contract award and that the tender award was not necessarily achieved within a single seating.

An official announcement on the award would be made by the Finance Ministry when all matters with regard to the contract had been considered and studied, he said.

Prasarana, set up by the Finance Ministry, said the tender evaluation, recommendations and award process were within the ministry’s prerogative.

In the course of the tender evaluation, the technical competency of every tenderer was reviewed as a whole offering whilst observations were recorded for any shortcomings found within the submission.

Ultimately, the results from the technical evaluation will reveal the pass or fail position of each tenderer, and thus, the ability to implement the project, he said

For instance, a bidder may submit low price; but at the expense of not meeting the full tender requirements or by qualifying or deviating from the stipulated contract conditions, thus such bids must be vetted carefully as they might not be in Prasarana’s best interests.

Prasarana said the award process was not necessarily achieved within a single seating as sometimes clarifications were sought to ensure all perspectives were given due recognition before the ultimate decision to award was made.

At this level, he said, the government would scrutinise all recommendations made and would seek further clarifications.

Azhar said these cycles of deliberations might take a few rounds and that was perhaps what the market was speculating about the “interim picture” before final award.

Updated information from the clarifications was to ensure all concerns and moderations were backed by the facts needed before any award could be concluded.

“The government is not obliged to award to the lowest bid, rather it looks at the totality of the offer and considers the most optimum that is beneficial to the project in the long run,” he said.

AMG Systems is part of the AMG line extension project, under which new systems will be installed and commissioned for the extended line, while the existing line will be suitably upgraded to ensure par performance and optimum integration for seamless train operations when completed in 2015.

The scope under the AMG Systems is of multi-disciplinary type, no less than seven major sub-systems that must be tested, commissioned and integrated (signalling, track works and 3rd rail, power supply, COMMS, SCADA, depot equipment, etc).

For such complex and diverse scopes, Azhar said no single contractor was able to meet the project requirements, thus, consortiums or joint ventures are typically formed to undertake the works.

The collaborations will involve local and foreign expertise, each member will complement the strength of other members and together offer a value proposition as required under the tender.

“As for AMG Systems, no one company has either the breadth or the expertise to manage this project alone. In fact, all submitted bids comprise of three or more partnerships per tenderer,” he said.

Leaked information found in the media recently did not give a full picture as comprehensively explained above, he said.

Dated selective excerpts have been superseded by new information resulting from the clarifications.

Azhar said: “They did not do justice either by labelling certain activities as “interference” when what were and are being done are due diligence processes by the government.”

Yesterday, engineering company, George Kent (M) Bhd, denied receiving any indication on the award of the RM960 million Ampang project.

The George Kent consortium vying for the project also includes China Railway Construction Corp and Tewet GmbH, a project consultant firm.

Besides George Kent consortium, other bidders for the project were Invensys-Balfour Beatty Rail-Ingress consortium, Posco-Sojitz-Daewoo International-Thales group, Colas-CMC Engineering-Thales, Samsung-LG-Thales, SNC

Lavalin-WW Engineering-Bombardier, Siemens-Scomi Engineering and Ansaldo-Emrail-Leighton.

Prasarana is a wholly-owned government company, established to facilitate, undertake and expedite public infrastructure projects approved by the government.

Prasarana and its group of companies are also asset-owners and operators of several public transport providers, namely the Ampang and Kelana Jaya lines, KL Monorail system and bus operations in the Klang Valley and Penang.