MRT Corp eyes up to 30% private funding for MRT3

It aims to ease the govt’s financial burden by leveraging a hybrid financing model with industry players

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MASS Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) is considering private funding option to finance some 10% to 30% of the total cost needed to develop the MRT Line 3 (MRT3) project.

Its CEO Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim (picture) said the effort is a part of an effort to ease the government’s financial burden by leveraging a hybrid financing model with industry players.

He also noted that the tender offer for the MRT3 project is scheduled to be opened in August this year.

“The government is committed and ready to fund this project, but they have given us an opportunity to come up with our own private funding proposal.

“Right now, we are considering a hybrid financing model either with MRT Corp itself or other industry players. The project is still reliant on government support, but we are trying to help the government,” he said at a briefing update on the MRT3 project in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Despite not disclosing the total cost of the project, Mohd Zarif said it was “not far off” from the speculative figures reported by the media, as well as estimates submitted by analysts last week.

Analysts estimated the MRT3 project cost to range between RM20 billion and RM30 billion.

Mohd Zarif added that when the tender for MRT3 is opened in August, MRT Corp aims to complete the awarding process by the end of this year to enable construction work to begin in early 2022.

He, however, did not reveal the exact tender format, but noted it would be “a different kind of tender award exercise”.

Mohd Zarif said MRT Corp has submitted a request for information to industry players to enable them to be prepared, as the tender process this time will be different than before.

He added that there are changes in terms of the construction method of the MRT3 project, as the company aims to transform the conventional construction method to construction manufacturing while developing local capabilities with technologies.

“We want to emphasise on construction manufacturing methods such as the use of industrialised building systems and informed building models in the project.

“This means, participants need to be proficient in these two methods to enable them to participate in the tender process which will begin in August,” he said.

He noted that this approach could also reduce the dependency on foreign workers and entice the employment of locals to work in a more conducive environment, such as in factories rather than at construction sites.

Mohd Zarif hopes MRT3 would be a “catalyst” and platform for economic development, urban rejuvenation and affordable housing in the country.

He said MRT Corp aims at working with various ministries, property developers and other industry players to ensure all parties could benefit from the project, including enterprises in Sabah and Sarawak.

He added that the MRT3 project is expected to take 10 years to complete instead of the previous projection of seven years.

The CEO said the project will involve about 30 stations and 10 interchanges, covering the parameters of Kuala Lumpur.

The official number of stations could be increased later to further reduce the distance between each station in order to be more pedestrian friendly.

Some of the proposed MRT stations, which will be finalised in the next few months, include Bukit Kiara, INTAN (National Institute of Public Administration), Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, Jalan Duta, Matrade, Jalan Kuching, Sentul West, Sentul East, Ayer Panas, Semarak, Setiawangsa, Ampang Point, Desa Pandan, Pandan Indah, Taman Perdana, Taman Midah, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM, Salak Selatan, Bandar Malaysia, Kuchai Lama, Old Klang Road, Pantai Dalam, and University Malaya Medical Centre (PPUM).

The overall distance of the MRT3 rail line is estimated at around 50km, 40% of which would be underground.