40% of RTS construction portion earmarked for Bumiputera

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

ABOUT 40% of the RM2 billion infrastructure construction portion of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project will be allocated to Bumiputera contractors, Malaysia Rapid Transit System Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) said.

Its CEO Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim said the jobs would be awarded to Bumiputera contractors grade one to six, of which details of work packages would be announced further by the state government this week.

He said out of the RM3.7 billion of the Malaysian portion for the RTS project cost, RM2 billion is meant for construction.

“So, 40% of the construction jobs (for Bumiputera) is worth RM800 million,” he told a press conference after the virtual ground breaking ceremony for the proposed Bukit Chagar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Johor Baru yesterday.

The virtual ceremony was graced by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

Also present were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad and state secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani.

The construction works include a station in Bukit Chagar, a depot in Wadi Hana, viaducts through the city centre of Johor Baru and over the Straits of Johor to the Malaysian-Singapore boundary, and the CIQ Complex in Bukit Chagar.

This facility will be part of a transit-oriented development, where there will also be a multimodal transport hub and a mixed property development.

“The multimodal transportation hub will have many floors. I can’t remember how many (but) it will be a skyscraper. So, out of the many floors, RTS will take up four floors for the purpose of CIQ.

“We are going to award these (packages) stage by stage and for now, we are only awarding the advanced works for the CIQ building, as well as reference and design for CIQ building.

“We are going to award the remaining packages much later. For CIQ projects, for subcontractors…small contractors…that will start coming in the starting end of this year,” he added.

Out of the RM2 billion, he said only RM86 million had been awarded for advanced works for the CIQ area.

In his speech, Mohd Zarif said the RTS development would be the catalyst for Johor Baru development, which will result in spillover effects, including job creation.

He said Sultan Ibrahim has also mooted the idea of organising a competition for the best facade design for the RTS station, featuring Johor uniqueness and bringing back the nostalgia of train journey and its history in the state.

On July 30, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture; left) and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong (right) met at the midpoint of the Johor Causeway as a symbolic gesture to resume the RTS Link project, after three postponements.

The idea of the project, which was conceived in 2010 and announced in 2011, would involve a 4km shuttle system connecting Bukit Chagar in the state capital Johor Baru and Woodlands in Singapore.

The RTS serves as a convenient and cost-effective shuttle system integrated with both public transport systems on both sides of the border, as well as helps reduce congestion on the Johor Causeway.