Biggest mega project: RM43b MRT proposal


For what is expected to be the biggest mega project of them all, the RM43 billion Mass Rapid Transit proposal has received little prominent media publicity and most Malaysians remain in the dark about it.

The ‘unsolicited proposal’ for a 180-200km partly underground railway network in Kuala Lumpur by Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp is now undergoing feasibility studies by two government-appointed consultants, according to a report in The Star.

The actual project is expected to cost RM36 billion. Add land acquisition and rolling stock cost and the tab reportedly could come up to a jaw-dropping RM43 billion. (What about possible cost overruns?) That makes it the largest construction job under the Tenth Malaysia Plan.

The Gamuda MD is reported in the Star as saying the commercial investment return (IR) would be quite low though economically the IR would be quite high.

That might explain why the two firms are not interested in becoming the MRT operator. The Edge (14 June 2010) suggested that government-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, could end up with the tough job of actually owning and operating the system i.e. ‘holding the baby’ for the public.

The two firms are mostly interested in the lucrative tunnelling work, which has been estimated at RM14 billion, according to the Star report. The Edge had earlier estimated the figure at RM10.8 billion. Either way, we are talking big money here.

Let’s look at who the major shareholders of Gamuda Bhd are as at 15 October 2009:

  • Employees Provident Fund Board 10.09% (direct interest)
  • Raja Dato’ Seri Eleena binti Raja Azlan Shah 7.43% (mostly deemed indirect interest through Generasi Setia)
  • Generasi Setia (M) Sdn Bhd 7.42% (direct interest)
  • Platinum Investment Management Limited 6.48% (direct interest)
  • HSBC Holdings plc 5.37% (indirect interest) (who is behind this?)

The substantial shareholders of MMC Corp (which is the flagship company of Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary) as at 25 February 2010 are:

  • Amanahraya Trustees Berhad (Skim Amanah Saham Bumiputera) 18.43% (direct)
  • Employees Provident Fund Board 8.11% (direct)
  • Seaport Terminal (Johore) Sdn Bhd 51.76% (direct)
  • Indra Cita Sdn Bhd 51.76% (indirect – deemed interest through Seaport Terminal)
  • Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Syed Mokhtar Shah bin Syed Nor 51.76% (indirect – deemed interest through Indra City)

“He (Syed Mokthar) surfaced during the premiership of (Mahathir) and created waves, stayed through (Badawi’s) term, albeit with less fanfare, and now he appears to be an important corporate figure in Najib’s tenure,” the Edge quoted an unnamed Umno politician as saying. Syed Mokthar’s Tradewinds recently gained control of Bernas, which has a monopoly of rice distribution in the country, the weekly noted.

The weekly also made the following observations: In 2007, Gamuda and MMC were awarded the northern portion of the rail double-tracking job for RM12.5 billion. In April, DRB-Hicom, whose controlling shareholder is Syed Mokthar, reportedly received a letter of intent from the government to manufacture and deliver a dozen variants of the Malaysian AV-8 armoured wheeled vehicle.

Back to the MRT: do we even have a comprehensive public transport master plan for the Klang Valley? Has the public been adequately consulted? Have we really explored the full potential of a more cost-effective bus rapid transit system?

Jose Barrock of The Edge wrote:

Like all large-scale projects, proper studies should be conducted, with the public at the centre of the equation. While the details trickle in, the merits of the deal need to be properly weighed, and the best proposal selected without resorting to other factors such as political clout.

The bottom line is, cost have to be kept low to ensure these gargantuan projects are viable and self-reliant in a minimum-case scenario. For starters, a proper tender should be held to ensure the best value for money when tendering out jobs.

If costs skyrocket, ticket costs are likely to be nudged upwards. Transport projects such as these should be rakyat-centric and not aim to be money-spinners.

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raj sam

Need change before this mama najib gangs bankrupt this good nation of ours

Mun Mok

i like your journalism. thanks for writing. mun mok

Ahmad Syafiq

Wow, Gerakan K, K and Ong Eu Soon are pretty silent on this issue. Guys, did you notice that? None of them commented on this issue. What does that tell us?

The Hague


Majority dislike the way BN push thru this non-sensical $43 billion CRONY project.

It’s time to vote BN OUT come 13th GE.

Get friends, relatives,colleagues to be a VOTER.

I have, have YOU?


Welcome to Indons and Myammareses etc…. Do remember to vote BN for giving you job…


I hope they don’t give out the contracts for the MRT carriages the same way the supply contracts are being fanned out for Penang Rapid where cronies (allegedly) got the contract to supply few buses each rendering many different models from various sources for the bus company and a nightmare for spare parts.


The Singaporean experience versus that of the Malaysian 1. In the MRT / LRT project in Singapore, they employ talents regardless of the talents’ racial / religious background. In Malaysia, the one getting the contract (is often) from a certain race and (often) connected with the ruling party, UMNO. 2. In Singapore, everything is planned ahead, and executed as if the timeframe being the worst case scenario. That is why the then projected completion date of 1992 was 2 years longer than the actual implementation. In Malaysia, nothing is planned ahead, and (one of the main considerations of the) projects… Read more »


…2 The north-south line was implemented first as more people need to be ferried across the busy Orchard corridor and the Central Business District. On 14 October 1983, the MRT Corporation was established and took over the roles and responsibilities of the former Provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority. Thousands flocked to experience travelling on the MRT when its first section from Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh was opened on 7 November 1987. Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew¸ Then officiated the launching of the system on 12 March 1988. The remainder of the system was opened in stages and… Read more »


Another BLATANT Bolehland “Bankrupt the Nation” Exercise! Just to share this… History Of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) And Light Rapid Transit (LRT) – “The 1960s was an era of great economic changes for Singapore. The city’s leaders were convinced of the need to support the economy with a reliable and efficient transport system to support nation building. To this end, the government commissioned a State and City Planning study in 1967 to study the possibility of expanding the transport network. Amongst others, the findings of the four-year study pointed to a need for a rail transit system by 1992.… Read more »

idrus hashim

enough is enough..sick


The RM43 Bil MRT project looks set to kick start by 2011, as usual and based on our ‘culture’ of you help me, i help you, imagine (if) the power who can award this mega project take away 10%…that is a cool RM4.3 billion in the pockets for preparations of the next General Elections(?)

So, what’s the basis for reducing subsidies on essential food and fuel when leakages are not plugged?

So, when will ‘open-tender’ system for public funded projects be implemented…not those RM5mil or RM50mil…it also applies to those RM43 billion!


Let put an estimate of 30% extra cost with BN rent-seeking direct contract, Malaysians have to foot RM10 billion bill for nothing….

The Hague

Another PKFZ in the making! From $43 billion (might) then ballooned up to $60 billion, if under BN.

Why don’t we give Singapore(their MRT started 20 years ago)$3 billion and them to run the project?
You’ll be surprised Singapore (may) come up with a total cost of only $20 billion. There! We save $20 billion.

Why GAMUDA again?

Oh! i forgot the Perak fiasco?

remember who said “You help me, I help you”…


The 2 TBMs from the “Smart” tunnel may be recycled.

The existing LRTs may be scrapped or turned into the world’s longest unused LRT.

All foreign workers in the country on voting day may be made temprary citizens for that day.


So what if there is no money…it never bothers UMNO….

They have a way of overcoming’s called…



they sure do have a masterplan to fund their retirement.


Not their retirements. That is not enough.

We (could be) funding their great-grand-children’s lifelong posh retirements, in villa, drinking champagne all day long.

telur dua

Did I hear tunnelling job? So, it’s going to be korek, korek, korek.


We all know why the gomen is going for mega projects. The gomen (appears) seriously bent on (allegedly) fleecing the citizens of this country to support these mega projects. The people must stop the gomen from carrying out such massive mega projects at this time. Such projects should be done only after GE13. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE ON MEGA PROJECTS IN FUTURE AND NOT A BUNCH OF … MORONS. If this mega project is allowed, then (most probably) this country will go bankrupt due to the massive cost.

calvin tan

kata m`sia bankrupt 10 thn lagi kalau xslash subsidy duit sdh habislah belanjawan deficitlah macam macam alasan tiba tiba project mega RM43bln SYABAS KERA JAAN BN MAKE HAY WHILE SUNSHINE MASIH ADA 3THN LAGI


One man, can make a statement that resonated worldwide .
If only we could all be as brave …

gamma ray

Dear Malaysians,

Pls stop talking nonsense by asking people to leave the country.This is our country and we must take back our country…. Stop talking and start taking action. Look at Thailand, now that is what i call patriotism….They love their country unlike us Malaysians


I will not leave, but I let all next generations of my family leave this Bolehland.


Why cant we just do up the bus system …. there are already roads … just give permission for smaller buses to be used …. why do we need big buses ….. what we need are zippy little van (max 25) going round and round … turn around time that is what we should be looking for …. Forget about big mega etc etc ….. let the little people (aka sole owners of buses driving small buses) take care for the smaller forgotten routes like the the areas west of KL (ie segambut dalam, hartamas etc)


Current set up does not permit any meaningful bus / train based mass transportation system. Everything falls back to the PM office. Every-single-bus must have a permit. Every-single-bus-company must have a permit. And you must fill-in-every-single-thing-in-detail-telling-them-where-your-bus-going-to-go-which-route -to-take-etc before they will consider if they are going to issue you a permit. And most importantly, after you spent the money buying all those buses, they can revoke that permit without-any-reason and leaving you high and dry. Nobody with a sane mind would want to operate a local bus company these days. Those who are still operating local bus services are using old-old-old-very-very-very-ancient-buses… Read more »


I just got back from my first visit to Penang and I thought RapidPenang was actually the best part of our family (2 kids under 5 years old) break there. How variable are bus services around Malaysia?


RapidPenang like RapidKL is not a private funded company. They got their money from the federal government.


Leave if you can. Plan and leave for the betterment of your children.
Even the simple Malays are leaving.
I left 3 years ago and doing just fine.
(Certain people) power craze and raping the country resources… Resource all gone.
Next 100 years still the same storey…


Next 100 years?

As it is, Malaysia can not last for even the next 20 years.

Cry for Malaysia

I think this project will what they say ‘break the camel’s back’……they will (probably) screw the project up i.e. cost overruns and the whole infrastructure will ‘bocor sana and sini’…no one takes accountability….

the country (could go) ‘belly-up’ as in the fish terms..mati….bankrupt…


I always wonder why big money is alwyas spent on KL.

What about other towns in Malaysia?
Don’t they need decent public transport?

Maybe the people in KL should from now pay higher tax to support their better infrastructure?


Nice to see that at least someone has their thinking cap on. Concentrating all the development in KL is a stupid move, why not move some industries elsewhere?


If there is a half-decent mass transportation system available for towns and cities throughout Malaysia, do you know that Proton (could) declare bankrupt tomorrow and many AP holders will have to move back to their respective kampungs?