Times (Used by permission)
by Zaidi Isham Ismail
THE Malay Chamber of Commerce of Malaysia (DPMM) wants the government to appoint it as the main contractor for the yet–to–be–awarded Seremban–Gemas–Johor Baru double–tracking rail project.
DPMM president head Syed Ali Mohamed Alattas said the government must award the project to the chamber as it is the umbrella body which safeguards the welfare and future of the country's six million strong Bumiputera business community.
"These include the 30,000 Bumiputera contractors (of all classes), 38 Bumiputera
business associations nationwide and the 300,000 petty traders.
"We have sent our request to Second Finance Minister (Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop) and the Transport Ministry, and will seek approval from the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) next week," Syed Ali told reporters at DPMM's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He urged the government to consider DPMM's request because in its history the chamber has never been awarded a single mega project.
DPMM claims to have been sidelined from the northern portion of the project, between Ipoh and Padang Besar, by main contractors Gamuda Holdings Bhd and partner MMC Corp Bhd.
The MMC–Gamuda consortium is expected to start work this year on the 329km stretch. In December last year, DPMM requested that it be allowed to vet and distribute on its own, 30 per cent or RM3.8 billion of the RM12.5 billion Ipoh–Padang Besar rail contract to its Bumiputera contractors.
However, MMC and Gamuda rejected the request as the consortium plans to award the jobs to genuine and capable Bumiputera contractors on their own rather than go through the chamber.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had last week presented letters of award to 25 Bumiputra contractors who won various contracts worth about RM400 million.
The Gamuda–MMC consortium has identified a total of 180 potential Bumi builders to take part in the tender involving 335 work packages which will be offered in stages beginning this month.
Syed Ali, meanwhile, said nine Bumiputra contractors that are members of the chamber have already won jobs for the northern portion, but he said their work scope and contract value are too small.
"For the southern portion, we have the support of local and international companies that support our proposal and are willing to lend their expertise in technical support such as signalling and electrification," he added.