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Double-tracking project cost overrun: Let's have the details

I refer to the Malaysiakini report PAC unable to smell a rat in double-tracking project .

Now if you know anything about rats, they are a hardy and very smart species. The other night I saw a rat that was about half the size of a cat scurrying in a drain in Johor Baru town.

Now that the Public Accounts Committee has given the double-tracking project’s RM1.14billion cost over-run the all clear, it would be good to provide the exact details of the different items that actually caused the RM1.14 billion cost escalation.

Both the companies Gamuda Berhad and MMC Corporation Berhad are main board companies of Bursa Malaysia and one wonders how such established companies executed such a project without proper planning and control.

According to the report, the variation orders accounted for RM588 million and this had not been paid by the government.

Who approved those variation orders and why did the government not pay if it approved the variation orders? What was the mechanism and procedure by which such variation orders were approved if it is a ‘build, operate and transfer’ (BOT) project?

If I remember correctly, this privatisation project was one of those BOT types where the contractor is required to do a turn-key operation and the government has no control over how they execute the project.

If that is the case, the shareholders of such companies enjoy all the benefits from such a project and they also suffer any losses.

Maybe the PAC was looking for the wrong species of animal for the blame? I would look for leeches instead.

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