Wednesday 21 March 2012

Why a 60-year highway contract? asks DAP

Will the RM7.07 billion Taiping-Banting West Coast Expressway take that long to build, and why was it awarded without an open tender, Guan Eng asks Najib. 

KUALA LUMPUR: The DAP wants to know why the Taiping-Banting West Coast Expressway’s concession will last for 60 years, and has been awarded without an open tender.

Bagan MP (DAP) and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng asked Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak why the government had awarded the RM7.07 billion project to Syraikat Europlus.

He also queried Najib on the details of the concession.

The Prime Minister, in a written reply in Parliament, said that any specific details on the matter would only be revealed after the concession agreement was signed.

“Questions in regard to cost, concession periods and other terms will be be answered as soon as the concession agreement in regard to this project has been signed,” he said.

Najib’s answer irked Lim, who said that the expressway’s concession may be the country’s second longest concession yet.

Speaking to reporters, he said that the longest concession in the country at the moment was for the sale of water between Malaysia and Singapore.

“That [sale of water] is between government and government… this one (the expressway) is between the government and a company,” he said at the Parliament lobby.

He said that if such an agreement was signed, it would only end by 2073. “If signed, maybe by then BN will be no more,” Lim joked.

In the written response, Najib also said that the expressway had been awarded to West Coast Expressways (WCE) Sdn Bhd, previously known as LPB Konsortium Sdn Bhd.

He added that WCE was the same company that had signed the concession agreement for the Taiping-Banting expressway with the government on May 25, 2007.

“In relation to this, the government has agreed to give a chance to West Coast Expressways to take into account the efforts and the expenses that have been made by the company in connection with the implementation of the project prior to this,” he said.

Najib added that local developer IJM Corporation Bhd had the “largest interests” in this company, and had a proven local and foreign track record.

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