‘Eat your words’ Loke tells Wee as KVDT2 project resumes at initial cost

445
- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Wee had said in August 2020 the RM4.5 billion KVDT2 project was overpriced and would be reopened for tender.

Former transport minister Anthony Loke said his successor, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong, should “eat his own words” now that the Klang Valley Double Tracking Phase 2 (KVDT2) project was being continued at a cost of RM4.47 billion.

Loke said Wee’s decision demonstrated that an open tender for the project was not feasible despite the latter’s insistence on calling for a fresh tender in August 2020.

“I want to tell both (Finance Minister Datuk Seri) Tengku Zafrul (Abdul Aziz) and Wee to ‘eat back their own words’.

“He (Wee) talked so big at the time, like a hero, as if they (Perikatan Nasional government) are champions of open tenders, and PH (Pakatan Harapan) was only awarding direct tenders causing high cost in projects.

Bernama

“So, all these today have vindicated us, our debate that we brought back in 2020 at Parliament has been proven right,” Loke told reporters at a press conference today at the DAP headquarters.

After PH won the 2018 general election, Loke was appointed the transport minister and sought to cancel the KVDT 2 contract awarded to Dhaya Maju LTAT Sdn Bhd in order to call for a new open tender.

The open tender did not proceed but the contract was renegotiated.

After the PH government collapsed in 2020 and was replaced by Perikatan Nasional, Wee took over as the transport minister and said the project would be reopened for tender, before mocking Loke for not choosing this “cheaper” option.

Loke acknowledged that this was technically cheaper but said he was informed that there would be legal issues in calling for a fresh tender, including the need to compensate Dhaya Maju.

“If we took this to court, for sure the government would have lost the case and we could have to pay compensation to the company and the project would have come to a halt.

“So, after several months, the company had to return to negotiate with us. When PH was in office, the company did not initiate any legal action, they instead called for a negotiation.

“Finally, after many discussions, the Cabinet had agreed to return the award to the company (DM-LTAT) with a change in scope and reduction of cost from RM5.2 billion to RM4.48 billion — a saving of about RM700 to RM800 million,” he said.

He also noted that Tengku Zafrul had in 2020 used the project as an example of PH’s penchant for direct negotiation.

However, Loke said Wee’s latest parliamentary reply on the matter last week showed that the contract remained at the same RM4.48 billion from PH’s time with no material changes.

“So, all that shows that what they have all been doing is just for political points at the time and it did hamper the project, because the moment Wee suspended the project on August 28, 2020, the company within one of two months took legal action and took the government to court (the case was in court for the past two years) until lately after a settlement with the development company,” he said.

Loke proceeded to challenge both Tengku Zafrul and Wee to announce the number of projects awarded via open tender from March 2020 until now.

“If he (Tengku Zafrul) can list 101 projects PH awarded via direct negotiation, why he can’t list projects under PN and Barisan Nasional (BN), I’m sure the public would like to know,” he said. – MMO