Recently put under review, the second phase of the Klang Valley Double Track (KVDT) project is now a “no-go” according to transport minister Anthony Loke. The Star reports that besides the timing of the tender award – just days before GE14 – the project’s high cost of RM5.9 billion is an issue.

“The completion period given to the contractor was long and it was given out through direct negotiations. There was no open tender for the project. For now, it is a no-go for this particular tender,” Loke said.

“A new tender will be called, but we cannot say how soon. From the technical viewpoint, KTMB has told us that we need the second phase to be implemented because the (current) track is unsustainable. But financially, the government has no means to support it. So, we will have to find out how to go about it,” he added.

Phase two of the KVDT project involves 110 km of train tracks from the Kuala Lumpur main station to Klang, Salak South to Seremban, and Simpang Port Klang to Port Klang. Awarded to DMIA Engineering in partnership with Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), the project was to be implemented over seven years. The same contractor is currently working one phase one, which is behind schedule.

“The cost is too high and it works out to RM53 million per km. The whole project is about 110 km and there are no new buildings or stations involved, just the track and signalling. We were told the cost is even higher than the Gemas to Johor Baru double-tracking project, which has new stations and tracks,” Loke revealed.

As for phase one, Loke said that the project was 60% complete, but he had been told there will be a three-month delay, pushing completion to sometime in 2019. The first phase covered upgrading of systems between Rawang and Seremban, and from Sentul to Port Klang. The 150 km project cost RM1.3 billion.

“We do not rule out cost overruns but we will not agree to all these things so easily. If the responsibility is on the contractor, why should the government pay for its failure to deliver on time?” the minister asked.