International banker slams method used to implement transport masterplan

The original Halcrow transport masterplan

An overseas-bases international banker working with a prominent global financial institution has criticised the Request for Proposals procurement method used to select a project delivery partner to implement the Halcrow masterplan.

He added that SRS Consortium had no experience in delivering an integrated transport masterplan as the consortium comprised infrastructure contractors or property developers. This is an excerpt from his open letter to the Penang chief minister:

The procurement approach adopted to date has not delivered the world-class planning expertise which is required for a sustainable Penang transport masterplan.

I know of no other public entity in the world that has used the Request for Proposals procurement method to select a project delivery partner for an estimated RM46bn (US$11.5bn at current exchange rates) investment of the scope and ambition of the SRS proposal, which has significant, complex and multi-generational impacts,” wrote the banker.

Firstly, a project delivery partner is used only for relatively small (in comparison), well-specified projects with very clear deliverables and timelines when the public contracting authority does not have the technical/financial capacity to implement these projects, he said.

In the case of the Penang transport masterplan, the Request for Proposal objectives are exceedingly broad, vague and complex. “As such, costs and risks are near impossible to estimate for any reputable bidder. Therefore, a fair and robust comparison of technical and financial proposals amongst different bidders is certainly impossible (with all due respect to KPMG),” he added

Furthermore, there is confusion between the roles of the state government and the project delivery partner in terms of accountability for planning functions, under the current arrangement, he said. a near abdication of the roles and responsibilities of the state government – which is clearly undesirable.

The state government needs to focus on establishing consensus on critical and urgent steps to formulate, implement, manage, monitor and enforce integrated land use and transport plans especially with the recent dissolution of the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad).

Given the scale and ambition of the proposed investments, a new state transport unit needs to be established with the required expertise, resources and mandate to ensure that the public good is not compromised by the profit incentive of a private project delivery partner.

SRS Consortium has no demonstrated experience or expertise in delivering an ambitious integrated transport masterplan.

Again, with due respect to the state government and KPMG, the capabilities of SRS Consortium, which consists of Gamuda Bhd, Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd, as a project delivery partner are not evident.
READ MORE: Penang Forum calls for greater dialogue on pressing issues

None of the consortium members have demonstrated experience or expertise in implementing an integrated transport plan on a scale such as the Penang transport masterplan as they are either engineering or property companies experienced in delivering infrastructure projects or developing real estate.

They clearly do not have the requisite world-class expertise in implementing sustainable, integrated transit and land-use plans. Entrusting the future vision of Penang and the quality of life of our children and grandchildren to an untested consortium such as SRS seems like a recipe for disaster.

I would urge you to review the contracting arrangement with SRS Consortium and instead formulate a plan to establish a state transport unit with expertise in managing public-private partnership (PPP) projects such as the transport masterplan proposals.

Along the same lines, I would also urge you to revisit the arrangements with Consortium Zenith.

Read the international banker’s full open letter to the Penang chief minister.

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14 Jul 2018 12.46pm

Penang Beware!

As if hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) was not enough, the number of people in Penang struck with dengue fever has nearly doubled compared with last year.

State Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said as of July 7, a total of 2,299 dengue cases have been reported this year compared with 1,263 cases in the same period last year, showing an increase of 1,036 cases.


BB resident
BB resident
15 Jul 2018 12.38pm
Reply to  Candy

Also must beware of dirty eateries in Penang.

Penang Health Department orders three nasi kandar eateries closed

Penang Health Department had ordered three nasi kandar restaurants in Little India to close for two weeks, as they have failed to meet the hygiene and health standards. State health director Dr Wan Mansor Hamzah on Thursday said they have found rat droppings or cockroach droppings were discovered in their premises, dirty fridges and in one restaurant, dirty plates were found piled up next to the dustbin. All three eateries were ordered to close under Section 11 of the Food Act 1983.

15 Jul 2018 6.40pm
Reply to  BB resident

Can someone please tell us the name of the dirty nasi kandar shops?

16 Jul 2018 12.13pm
Reply to  Muthu

The summoned nasi kandar restaurants located along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, Little India and other food outlets along Lebuh Chulia.

Hint: RM, K, S.

BB resident
BB resident
15 Jul 2018 12.31pm

Penang proposes hill tunnel for Pan Island Link project

16 Jul 2018 10.06am

For a banker, most of what he wrote is about the Project is plan itself..His only mention of financing is the use of PDP – made necessary originally because PH was not in power Federally and currently still seem necessary because of Federal financial constraint. NOTHING here proposes a plan that FINANCES itself. Even more suspicious, for a suppose banker, it talks about relying on “quality forecast”. He clearly is a pen pusher. Anyone who has done real investments and made money on projects knows that “forecast” ultimately cannot be relied on. Building stuff that works and cost effective is… Read more »

Ma jiji
Ma jiji
14 Jul 2018 8.47am

Hei Anil, first and foremost you need to reveal the name of the great name of the so-called “International Banker” and definitely not merely by a “pseudonym name” Tom or Dick. Or at least a Nick Leeson ?
Oh dear, by the same token… I’m an International Banker too !

14 Jul 2018 1.27pm
Reply to  Ma jiji

Hi Ma jiji, Read the international banker’s full open letter to the Penang chief minister… You are an international banker too??? I never use the word need or must for others as most know very well what to do and what is good for them. We are no slaves It might be an idea for you as an international banker to dive in this problem for humanity and the leftover beauty of Penang. Men are creators and destroyers… I give you the honour of a co creator We all have a job to do besides our work Enjoy this wonderful… Read more »

15 Jul 2018 7.55am
Reply to  Margie

Where u find international bankers? Penang, melaka, Perlis or places like new York, London , singland? International banking cities get funding from their gomen. Singland and hongland so rich and any reclamation is not to fund infrastructure.

14 Jul 2018 2.17pm
Reply to  Ma jiji

True, dubious internationsl banks also laundered 1MDB black money.

Janet Seah
Janet Seah
22 Jul 2018 12.17pm

Penang has fulfilled all four of its election pledges for housing within two months, state exco Jagdeep Singh.

The housing and local government committee chairman said the state government originally pledged to build 75,361 affordable housing in the state, but has now surpassed the initial figure.

“We will build a total 80,604 units of affordable housing within this term which surpassed our election pledge,” he said.

He said 28,442 units were already built and 22,065 units are being built.

17 Jul 2018 12.24pm

Generating Power from the Roads As scientists and companies work on cleaning up cars, there’s also a team developing new technology along a road in rural Georgia in the United States, with the aim of making a truly sustainable highway. The Ray, an 18-mile stretch of road near the Alabama border, is a “living laboratory” where eco-friendly projects are being tested. It’s got pollination gardens, a tyre-monitoring system to help reduce fuel consumption and solar panels embedded in a section of the road. A large solar installation also generates power and revenue, helping to reduce carbon emissions and encourage investment.… Read more »