The Malaysian government has no plans to source for new project delivery partners (PDPs) for the LRT3 light rail transit project, finance minister Lim Guan Eng said. “If we have to call for a tender again, we have to pay more than RM4.2 billion in compensation. This would be a cost that would be too heavy for the government to bear,” he was quoted as saying in a report by The Star.

This was in response to Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican’s suggestion that the government terminate the services of Prasarana as it had “failed to keep the cost of the LRT3 project to its initial cost of RM9 billion.”

As it stands, the LRT3 project would go ahead, albeit with massive cost-cutting measures. A review of the project saw the initial project cost slashed from RM31.65 billion to RM16.63 billion for a cost reduction of 47% or RM15 billion, the report quoted the finance minister as saying. He also rejected suggestions that a scaled-down version of the LRT3 project would be less effective.

The new LRT line is expected to serve two million passengers, with the capacity to transport 36,700 passengers per hour in each direction, the report said. The line will stretch from Johan Setia in Klang to Bandar Utama in Petaling Jaya, with the completion date for the project pushed from 2020 to 2024 in order to further reduce construction costs.

In addition to the postponement, further cost reductions were achieved through reducing the number of train stations (five deferred, one cancelled) and train sets, from 42 sets of six-car trains to 22 sets of three-car trains. An earlier report said that the reduction in size of the stations and capacity of the trains were because Prasarana’s specifications were well above the necessary requirement of an LRT system.