A total of 331 Malaysian construction firms have been declared eligible to bid for civil engineering work on the $10.5bn East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) – just over 25% of the country’s 1,321 companies. Â
The announcement was made by Malaysia Rail Link (MRL), the state agency that owns the project. The companies whose pre-tender documents were approved during the summer by MRL and China Communications Construction (CCCC), the main contractor, can begin submitting tenders for the scheme in the autumn.
MRL said in a statement that the evaluation committee carried out a "detailed evaluation of each entity’s track record, financial capabilities, technical personnel and plant and equipment".
The ECRL’s double-tracks will stretch for 640km between Kota Bharu in the northeast corner of the Malaysian peninsula to Putrajaya on the southern outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Completion is set for December 2026.
Darwis Abdul Razak, the chief executive of MRL, said in the statement that tender packages would be issued for the 40% of the civils work, covering the 223km stretch from Dungun to Mentakab, where the route has been finalised. The scope of the work includes earthworks, foundations, structural works, soil improvement and road building, but does not include tunnelling.
Razak added that further tenders would follow once both the re-alignment from Kota Bharu to Dungun as well as new southern alignment between Mentakab and Port Klang had been agreed.
MRL said CCCC would notify all the shortlisted companies before the end of August.
The ECRL has had a troubled history since a deal was signed in November 2016. Work began in August 2017, was suspended in July last year, then restarted in April after the signing of a new agreement between MRL and CCCC. The revised contract cut the cost of the scheme by about a half and raised the level of participation by Malaysian companies from 30% to 40%.
Image: The Malaysian peninsula is presently served by these Chinese KTM trains (Slleong/CC BY-SA 4.0)