HSR tender attracts interest from Japan, China

Before the June 29 deadline, 4 more bids are expected to be evaluated for the KL-Singapore HSR project


THE call for a tender by Malaysia and Singapore to appoint assets company (AssetsCo) for its Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (KL-Singapore HSR) project has gained interest from many countries, especially from Japan and China.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said that four more bids are expected to be evaluated for the KL-Singapore HSR project before the closing date on June 29, 2018.

“China and Japan have shown their support for the tender. China companies have openly announced that they are keen to participate in this project, while Japan has so far confirmed its participation.

“We definitely welcome more countries to participate in this bidding as it is an international tender,” Liow told reporters at the Malaysia- China SMEs Business Matching Conference 2018 in KL yesterday.

Liow said that there is still time for interested companies to submit proposals for the project. As such, there is no confirmation regarding the winner at the moment.

The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that Japan stood a good chance of winning the tender for the KL-Singapore HSR project, despite an expected strong competition from its closest rival, China.

In an interview with local business radio station BFM earlier in January, Japan’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa said the country was offering its best HSR proposal and technology to both Malaysia and Singapore.

Citing the Shinkansen, he said the longest serving HSR system in the country had not experienced any fatal accidents since starting operations in 1964.

“The system is also in the process of being adopted by India, Thailand and the US, while already operational in Taiwan,” he added.

Miyagawa said Japan had no intention of monopolising the benefits arising from the establishment of the KL-Singapore HSR.

“We would also like to intensify human capital development alongside the transfer of technology to Malaysia and Singapore, and as this also enhances our chances of winning the bid for the KL-Singapore HSR,” he added.

The AssetsCo will be responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining all rolling stock, as well as designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining all rail assets (eg trackwork, power, signalling and telecommunications) for the HSR.

It will also coordinate the system’s network capacity for operations and maintenance needs.

The project delivery partner and upcoming AssetsCo tenders include two major procurement exercises at the current stage of the US$11 billion (RM42.87 billion) project.

Meanwhile, Liow also said that China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) confirmed that it was never a shareholder in the special-purpose vehicle (SPV) and the SPV’s parent company, Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.

He said that CRCC also has no direct contract with the Penang government for the Penang Tunnel and three main road projects.

The construction enterprise has neither given approval, nor has the knowledge of why the Penang government had considered them as shareholders of the mentioned projects.

Liow said that CRCC had only signed an “acknowledge of commitment” as an appendix to preliminary agreement of the Penang Tunnel and three road projects, and that it will deliver the project should the company be awarded any portion of the project by the SPV.

The top CRCC leaders met Liow during his recent visit to China for the First Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Civil Aviation and bilateral meeting with the People’s Republic of China transport minister in Beijing.

As of yesterday, CRCC has preliminarily contracted with the SPV to be the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, and had also been given a contract by the SPV to perform detailed design reports for a total of US$22 million for the three roads and undersea tunnel.