Nur Kamal said actual work on the MRT will start in November. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Putrajaya has yet to finalise the financing and project manager’s fees for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) although planning has started for initial civil engineering works to begin in November, said the regulator.
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Kamal said only a Letter of Award (LoA) has been issued to the MMC-Gamuda joint-venture as the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) but the fees has yet to be settled.
“We are working hard to finalise it and it will made public before the groundbreaking in July,” he told a special briefing to journalists yesterday.
The multi-billion ringgit MRT, which was initially estimated at RM36 billion for three lines, has come under fire for scant details, but Mohd Nur said information will be given when available.
He announced that the July groundbreaking is only for the depot site in Sungai Buloh and the start and end of the underground portion in Jalan Semantan and Jalan Cochrane, adding actual work will start in November.
[TRANSIT: Yeaah… break the ground first, erect the pillars second, think about the overall transit masterplan third, and have a tinker of thought on how the grand plan will merge and trickle down to the average lay person walking on the street last!
That’s what they did for the Jakarta monorail (see below) and it worked so well!]
A transit plan must be tied to land use and transportation plans at both local and regional levels. (From Germany’s GTZ Guide to Transit Planning)
He confirmed that MMC-Gamuda must meet the project deadline of 2016 or be penalised for late delivery.
“This partnership is about enhanced gain or pain for them,” Mohd Nur said, adding as the regulator, they want to make sure the project is carried out in the best fashion.
“If they can’t sign, we will ask the project owner Syarikat Prasarana Nasional Berhad (SPNB) to get a new partner. This is a priority project,” he added.
Mohd Nur said the Finance Ministry has set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to raise funds for the project but said the method has yet to be determined.
[TRANSIT: Wow, even after the study tour to study 1st hand of Hong Kong’s MTR property value capture, after the appointment of PDP and proposed alignments, SPAD can’t yet figure out how to make sure the humongous capex can be paid off on time (instead of Prasarana’s LRTs and Monorail debt which until now only the interest payments are served)?]
Despite that, MRT owner SPNB and the PDP, MMC-Gamuda, have already advertised to pre-qualify contractors for the elevated line, elevated station and depot.
According to SPNB managing director Shahril Mokhtar, the first tenders will be open in June or July for the first 16 packages for the elevated portion while bids for the tunnelling work for a 9.5km stretch under the capital city will be awarded in December.
He disclosed that a one-stop technical committee will evaluate the bids before recommending it to a Finance Ministry committee that will decide on the contract awards.
“It’s their money so they decide,” Shahril said, adding this was different from the current LRT extension works which is funded by bonds issued by SPNB.
[TRANSIT: The money belongs to the people, not any ad-hoc committee or body or even institution. Hopefully Prasarana will be more transparent in letting the public know on the real breakeven timeline for high rail-based mass transit (public’s awareness on capex financing of LRT extension project is still NIL) since Prasarana’s bonds are guaranteed by the Malaysian government (read: taxpayers, whether they live a stone throw from LRT or in uncovered parts in Klang Valley, or in the deep Bakun Valley in Sarawak).]
(click to enlarge): Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is the core principle behind property value capture for transit projects. The more expensive the project is, the higher the yield that will be expected out of the surrounding properties.
Which means higher plot ratio and density as you get nearer to the station. Typically, number of access to unique properties are made as high as possible, and this is the case with Hong Kong’s MTR.
[TRANSIT: To Prasarana, we want to ask: what is the plan to recoup the initial LRT and monorail capital expenditures via property value capture before the last bond mature in 2023 – in which if full payment can’t be resolved upon bond expiry, people’s money will be used to bail Prasarana out, or the ticket price has to be increased to nearly RM9 (today’s money) on average.]
But he pointed out that any contract above RM300 million would require the ministry’s nod.
The SPNB chief said some 100 firms have applied for pre-qualification for the 16 packages in the elevated part of the 51km-long MRT; the deadline for pre-qualification ends on April 13.
Those who win the contracts will have to sign a tripartite agreement with SPNB and MMC-Gamuda as the project manager, Shahril added.
[TRANSIT: We thought MMC-Gamuda was project delivery partner? Oh this is so confusing.]
Mohd Nur said the tripartite agreement will ensure contractors’ failures can be overcome by using the PDP’s expertise to complete the packages.
“They have to work hard, otherwise these guys will eat their lunch anytime they fall,” Mohd Nur quipped.
He added the government will appoint another project manager for the tunnelling work if MMC-Gamuda wins the job. MMC-Gamuda had proposed the MRT project as it was the tunnelling contractor for the SMART flood water dispersion project.
“The PDP can’t be the project manager if it bids for a job. That is why it cannot take part in the tender for the elevated portion,” Mohd Nur said.
He also added that SPNB is already working on an integrated ticketing system for both the train and bus systems, apart from ensuring that the MRT stations are integrated with the current network.
Mohd Nur also pointed out that 13 out of the 35 stations will have park and ride facilities with a total of 4,000 parking bays.
“We are listening to feedback and will have time to fine tune the network before construction ends,” he added.
[TRANSIT: Right now it looks as if SPAD only listens to those who made the loudest (and lousiest) noise – rich people in sprawled mansions and low density units complaining on visual aesthetics of concrete, and not ordinary folks on the street who are troubled by high housing and car installment – not to mention the overwhelming petrol, maintenance & toll costs.]
How about other stakeholders, whose tax bases are at risks, if the very people they voted for splurge all the money to a system that benefits a few.
Rather than creating new and compact residential and employment centers around present stations, new sprawling developments prop out in areas far from rail transit access, and fresh (and not so fresh) graduates have to fork out hefty portion of their meager salaries for expensive houses and entry-level cars. Will they benefit from the MRT system?
Property value capture lessons from Hong Kong and other cities with financially-successful transit systems require high density development around stations.
Will the land owners around stations proposed in Damansara be happy to learn that in order for the MRT to be sustainable financially, their houses will have to make way for new high rise developments?
Will the folks around the SBK corridor be prepared to the pictured scenario - high rise along transit corridors?The MRT is the country’s biggest infrastructure project and also the largest National Key Economic Area (NKEA) project under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s New Economic Model (NEM).The massive project is expected to generate 130,000 jobs in its five year construction phase. The government hopes that more than half of the population in Greater KL will use the public transport system to prevent traffic congestion.
[TRANSIT: In the 6th Malaysia Plan, 50% of population was targeted to use public transport in Klang Valley by the year 2000, and that triggered light rail construction boom. Five mass rapid transit lines (KJ, Ampang, Sri Petaling, KLIA Transit, Monorail lines + KTM extension) later and yet modal share rating failed to budge even to a quarter, what more half, of population.]
We are deeply upset.
Please read the story below and relate to the above reporting. Which character refers to SPAD, Prasarana, Gamuda and ‘nimby’ resident leader?
TRANSIT’s analogy: Your small flat apartment can no longer fit your family. You need a house. You earn a meager income, and you want to engage a contractor to build a snazzy-looking mansion (that looks cool, like your neighbors’) for you and your wife and your children.
But the price tag is so high that it will take 10 generations to be paid off if you can’t find a way to quadruple your income (and insist your wife on working instead of looking care of the kids, and plus, her salary must also be four times your current salary). You know there is another traditional-looking pre-owned landed and linked property down the street, that serves your family well but costs a meager one twentieth of the spanking new futuristic-looking mansion’s price.
Your parents, whose physical and financial health are deteriorating, don’t want to be involved at all (as they seem to be paying their mortgages forever) and said “It’s your money, so you decide, but when we go broke, you have to back us up because yakity yakity yak yak done this done that complaint complaint complaint (oldies’ rants and nags)”.
You don’t know how to even double your income. You can’t even figure out how to settle the previous ‘snazzy-looking’ porch renovation debt. Your wife wants to work for money, but the work can’t be located out of the backyard and the front door. You absolutely have NO plan at all to generate more money, and NO plan to limit your family’s living needs. You know the contractor will suck the money out of your retirement funds that are meant to secure your kids’ future. And your kids’ kids. And your kids’ kids’ kids… up to the tenth generation.
Would you go ahead and buy THAT house?
By the way, sometimes people say that the Klang Valley – with 5 different train systems & train technologies – is a textbook example of public transport. Actually, they are right. We are a textbook example – but not for the reasons you thought!