Monday, June 12, 2006


Mega project with Mega compensations. It looks likely the rakyat is once again asked to pick up the tab for this ill conceived “scenic” bridge. What if the bridge is allowed to proceed? The burden would be much more for sure. So there may be justification in cancellation apart from the legal implications.

RM100 million -compensation to Gerbang Perdana, the contractor for the bridge,
RM250 million needed to build a new elevated road connection from the causeway to the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex in Bukit Chagar here

RM380 millionland premium demanded by the Johor state government following the cancellation

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is meeting Monday 12th June 2006 to discuss the high cost in the abandoned Scenic bridge Project to replace the causeway

PAC Chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad would like to know why the project still costs the government so much money even after it has been terminated.

PAC Chairman Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad Sunday said the meeting would focus
on the RM100 million compensation to Gerbang Perdana, the contractor for the
bridge, RM250 million needed to build a new elevated road connection from
the causeway to the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex in Bukit
Chagar here and land premium of RM380 million demanded by the Johor state
government following the cancellation. Top government officials from the Finance Ministry and Works Department would answer their queries.

Meanwhile Bernama in a dispatch quoted Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman as saying “the land premium of RM380 million was a fair value in compensation for the state's land handed over to the federal government in a swap arrangement for the bridge-CIQ integrated project, as now the bridge will not be built”

In another dispatch, Bernama reported The Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) is in no hurry to elect a successor to replace Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, who resigned as its chairman on May 4, before the next parliamentary session from June 26 to July 18
UPDATE:see the following is Malaysiakini's account:
Half-bridge: The high cost of indecision Beh Lih Yi Jun 12, 06 7:31pm

What is the exact cost of the government's abrupt decision to scrap the controversial 'half-bridge' to Singapore? Even after two months, there appears to be no definite answer in monetary terms.

A meeting today between the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and some 20 government officials from the Public Works Department (PWD) and finance ministry, among others, raised more questions than answers.

During the hour-long meeting, the PAC was told that cancellation of the project will cost the government an estimated RM740 million. This includes RM170 million for preliminary works done, RM100 million in compensation to the contractor and RM470 million for the flyover and connecting roads.

PAC chief and Johor Baru MP Shahrir Samad said PWD officials told the committee that the proposed six-lane flyover connecting the causeway to the new RM1.2 billion Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex will now have to be expanded to eight lanes.

This will increase the cost of the flyover from RM250 million to RM280 million.

Additionally, the Johor government is reportedly requesting a whopping RM380 million in land premium from the federal government now that the bridge project has been discontinued.

(The initial agreement involved a land swap for the old CIQ complex in Tanjung Puteri for the new area in Bukit Chagar. This became impossible when the bridge was cancelled, as the new CIQ complex would cut through the land occupied by the existing complex.)

Given this costing, the final cost of scrapping the project could add up to RM1.12 billion, if the new CIQ complex - which is almost complete - is not to become a white elephant.

Had the government gone ahead with building the half-bridge, it would have only incurred a cost of RM1.113 billion, noted Shahrir.
Suggestions for consideration

Shahrir, however, cautioned that the final cost has yet to be ascertained because the PAC today asked PWD officials to negotiate with the bridge contractor, Gerbang Perdana Sdn Bhd, to reduce the compensation.

"This request is taking into consideration that the RM470 million project for the flyover and connecting roads will not be openly tendered, but is directly awarded to Gerbang Perdana," Shahrir told a press conference.

As for the land premium sought by the Johor government, he said it should be sorted out by the state and federal governments.

Asked about the expansion of the six-lane flyover, Shahrir said the PWD officials did not explain the rationale. He refused to comment on whether the expanded flyover is justifiable, despite being pressed by reporters.

The cancellation of the half-bridge - first proposed by ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and which has involved nearly a decade of prickly and unproductive negotiations with Singapore - has prompted the former's criticism of his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Audit of Matrade contract

Shahrir also said the PAC will request the Auditor-General's office to conduct a management auditing of the construction of the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) building, completed last month after a nine-year delay.

Work on the building started in 1994 with completion scheduled in 1997, but the project suffered several delays and led to the appointment of a new contractor. The original cost of RM167 million shot up to RM287.5 million, with RM64.8 million being spent on repairs.

The project was initially awarded to now defunct property developer Perangsang International Sdn Bhd.

"We want to know how and who approved the decision, or whether the procedures were adhered to. We should learn from mistakes. If the government is only concerned about compensation or taking action against a defunct company, it won't do us any good," he said.

On another matter, the PAC will suggest to the government and finance ministry to re-acquire land used for houses in Sri Petaling, after residents there strongly opposed the RM1.3 billion KL-Putrajaya highway.

The massive highway project, which starts from Salak South Garden, passes through residential areas in Bandar Baru Sri Petaling and ends in Bukit Jalil. The main objection is that the highway is sited only 2.3 metres from the houses.

According to Shahrir, the finance ministry had given the Malaysia Highway Authority (MHA) and PWD approval to acquire the land in 1999 - long before the housing projects started - but the authorities had failed to act.

"With the PAC's request, I believe no party will be unhappy. As far as we know, the house owners are interested in their land being acquired (and compensation paid)," he said, adding that the MHA should be held responsible for the controversy.

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