Thursday November 13, 2008

Govt may call new tender for RM3.2bil West Coast Expressway

Stories by JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU and FINTAN NG at the Economic Planning Unit dialogue session

PUTRAJAYA: The RM3.2bil West Coast Expressway (WCE) has been shelved and might undergo a new tender as terms of the deal could not be finalised within a 15-month timeframe.

Economic Planning Unit director-general Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob said the final decision on the WCE rests with the Cabinet but some of the other huge infrastructure projects had not met a similar fate.

In general, tweaks have been made on huge infrastructure projects identified under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and most of them are starting to get off the ground.

Key projects like the Second Penang Bridge and the Pahang-Selangor Water transfer project are already up and running.

“We have to examine projects that have the best value for money,” he said at a dialogue session on the state of the Malaysian economy organised by the Economic Planning Unit for industry captains, policy makers, fund managers and analysts yesterday.

Sulaiman said previous delays in big projects were caused primarily by sky-rocketing raw material prices but a drop in commodity prices, especially steel, had led to a resumption in a number of projects.

He said savings from projects not yet started but previously budgeted at higher prices had been channelled to projects that had kicked off.

Updating the status of key projects, Sulaiman said the Selangor-Pahang water transfer project was now in phase 1 and tenders had been called. “The double-tracking project is on but certain phases in the north have been deferred,” he said.

On the second Penang bridge, he said China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd had been given the letter of award and the Government was finalising the offer with UEM Builders Bhd for the upper structure.

On the RM7bil that is to be spent under the economic stabilisation plan, Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah said the money was now available.

He said the money was savings from the original RM21bil the Government had budgeted to spend on subsidies earlier.

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