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Old June 19th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #261
rizalhakim
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Penang bridge still on with UEM group as contractor
BERNAMA


Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop today said that UEM Builders Bhd remains the contractor for the second Penang bridge project but declined to comment on reports that the company will not manage and collect tolls.

An online news provider recently reported that the government was overhauling the project by breaking up the key elements, namely, the construction and concession to collect tolls.

Citing unnamed government officials, the report said the toll concession portion would be decided through an open tender, and the winning party would have to share revenue with the government.

It also said the move could save the government up to RM18 billion over 45 years, and lead to greater flexibility in levying toll charges.

Speaking to newsmen after delivering his keynote address at the Malaysia Islamic Capital Market Conference 2008 here, Nor Mohamed said he would discuss the issue with the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department.

“I will discuss with the EPU and will issue a proper statement soon, but on the issue of the bridge’s contractor, at this point in time certainly UEM is on as a contractor,” he said.

He also stressed that construction of the Second Bridge, which connects Penang to the mainland, was still on.

“I don’t think the project will be cancelled and UEM is still the contractor,” he said.

Earlier this month, UEM Builders said the government has approved an increase in the construction cost for the bridge above the original cost of RM4.3 billion due to rising prices of oil and building materials.

It also said preliminary work on the construction of the bridge had started and the project was on track to be completed as planned by 2011.

The 24-km bridge project is being undertaken by UEM Builders, in a joint venture with China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 05:08 AM   #262
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Minister affirms UEM role in second Penang bridge
By Roziana Hamsawi Published: 2008/06/20



CONSTRUCTION firm UEM Builders Bhd is still the contractor for the second Penang bridge project, says Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

However, he declined to comment on reports that the company would not be managing and collecting toll.

"The Economic Planning Unit will discuss and issue a statement in due course.

"On the structure of constructing the bridge, at this point in time certainly, UEM is on as the contractor," he said yesterday.



Nor Mohamed was speaking to reporters after delivering his keynote address at the Malaysia Islamic Capital Market Conference 2008 in Kuala Lumpur.

An online news report had quoted unnamed government sources as saying that the toll concession portion of the project would be decided through open tender and the winning party would have to share the revenue with the government.

The report added that the move could save the government up to RM18 billion over 45 years and result in greater flexibility in levying toll charges.

UEM, meanwhile, had said recently that the 24km bridge was expected to be completed by 2011 and that initial construction work had begun.

It also said that the government had approved an increase in the construction cost above the original estimate of RM4.3 billion due to rising prices of oil and building materials.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 06:27 AM   #263
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Can we really build a 24 km bridge in just a mere 3.5 years ( the article said it will be ready by 2011 ) with all the looming political and economic uncertainty in Malaysia?

I'm betting more like 2020

Just take a look all all the "track records" of big projects in Penang. Name me ONE that finished ON TIME.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:13 AM   #264
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingdangdong View Post
Can we really build a 24 km bridge in just a mere 3.5 years ( the article said it will be ready by 2011 ) with all the looming political and economic uncertainty in Malaysia?

I'm betting more like 2020

Just take a look all all the "track records" of big projects in Penang. Name me ONE that finished ON TIME.
forgive me, but can you tell me which major construction project (>$1 billion USD) in the world and in recent times which finish ahead of schedule, under budget , with out accidents and with out problems?
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwinkarim View Post
forgive me, but can you tell me which major construction project (>$1 billion USD) in the world and in recent times which finish ahead of schedule, under budget , with out accidents and with out problems?
NONE

I'm not saying it will be delayed coz it's built in PG, but I'm saying it will be delayed coz its a "major construction project >$1billion USD".
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Old June 20th, 2008, 07:57 AM   #266
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Fewer vehicles on Penang Bridge
Friday June 20, 2008
By PRISCILLA DIELENBERG
TheStar

SINCE the fuel price increase, the number of vehicles using Penang Bridge daily has dropped by about 4,000 each way.

A spokesman for Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd (PBSB) said statistics on the one-way volume showed that about 63,000 vehicles now used the bridge daily.

“We also noticed that the toll plazas in Butterworth are no longer as congested as before,” she said.






Traffic situation along the coastal highway leading to the
Penang Bridge is markedly less after the fuel price hike.





She said the impact was positive.

Traffic flow was smoother, especially during the peak hours, she added.

“However, it was not so good for PBSB in terms of revenue collection,'' she said.

Marketing executive Fatimah Yusoff, 40, who lives in Sungai Petani and works in Bayan Baru, said that before the price hike, she usually reached Penang Bridge at about 8.30am and would be stuck in a bumper-to-bumper crawl until the midspan of the bridge.

“On bad days, it took 30 to 45 minutes to get past that stretch, compared with 15 minutes now. After the price hike, I don't see traffic jams and there seems to be fewer cars but more motorcycles on the bridge.

“Now the traffic is so smooth that I don't even have time to look at my watch,” she said.

Fatimah, who drives a Perodua Viva, said a full tank used to cost her about RM55 and lasted five working days, but now a full tank cost about RM70.

Factory worker Y.T. Ong, 24, said she used to spend about RM50 on toll and petrol for a round trip from Penang island where she works to her hometown in Alor Star twice a month before the price hike.






Almost empty: The coastal road leading to Penang Bridge was almost
free of vehibles when the photograph was taken at 6.45pm on June 18.





“Nowadays, I just take an ex-press bus from the Butterworth jetty to Alor Star town and back. It only costs me RM7.50 one-way,” she said, adding that her mother also helped to identify some friends from the same neighbourhood working in Pe-nang so that they could carpool and take turns to drive home together.

Sales executive Jeremy Ng, 52, said he used to experience very bad traffic jams upon leaving his office in Bayan Lepas around 7pm to 8pm daily.

“Now, traffic is very smooth and it only takes me less than 15 minutes to arrive home in Green Lane,” he said.

Ng said he cut down on his driving to save on petrol and only drove for official work purposes or when necessary.

He said he also switched off the air-conditioner to get 20% to 30% of extra mileage.
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Old June 20th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #267
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Yay. This is good.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:05 AM   #268
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UEM to sign new 2nd Penang bridge pact
By Zuraimi Abdullah Published: 2008/06/26



The new deal will cap the project's total cost at RM4.3 billion and call for an open tender of the bridge's toll concession


UEM Group, together with its Chinese partner, expects to sign a new agreement to build the second Penang bridge next month, its top executives said.

The new contract will cap the project's total cost at RM4.3 billion but the UEM-China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd consortium can claim extra expenses from fluctuating material costs, they said.

The new deal follows the government's decision to allow for an open tender of the bridge's toll concession, amid rising costs due to soaring energy and commodity prices worldwide. The move reversed the original plan to let UEM, via subsidiary UEM Builders Bhd, manage the concession once the bridge is completed.

"The (new) contract agreement has been finalised and we hope to sign it soon," group chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said.



Tajuddin and managing director Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin said the group was managing the construction cost partly through forward- and pre-buying of key materials like steel and cement.

They said the group was well poised to bid for the toll concession when the time comes. UEM is bullish about its chances, given its experience and expertise in highway and toll operation and maintenance locally and abroad.

Tajuddin and Ahmad Pardas were speaking at a press conference after UEM World Bhd's annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Ahmad Pardas, who is also group chief executive officer, said the bridge's design had been tweaked with some "esthetic changes" but the alignment remains as in the original plan.

Tajuddin, meanwhile, said the listing of the group's property arm, UEM Land Bhd, is expected to take place in early November. The listing is part of the UEM group's restructuring announced in February this year.

The planned capital repayment to UEM group shareholders, another key component of the restructuring, should be made by the third quarter, he added.

On revenue growth this year, Ahmad Pardas said the target set under its KPI (key performance indicator) is achievable despite a more challenging business and economic environment.

He added that construction, engineering, healthcare and property divisions would continue to contribute significantly to the company's performance.

UEM announced recently a 13 per cent growth each in revenue and return on equity under its KPI targets for the year ending December 2008.

Last year, the group's revenue grew 46 per cent to nearly RM7 billion, although the growth is still short of its targeted 65 per cent under its KPI. Group net profit rose fourfold to RM939.2 million from RM194.9 million previously.

The performance was largely due to major land sales in Nusajaya in Johor, the benefits from the dilution of its investment in Costain plc and a gain of the listing of Opus International Consultants Ltd in New Zealand.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:23 AM   #269
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2nd Penang bridge deal has variable cost clause


KUALA LUMPUR: The building cost of the second Penang bridge is expected to be higher than the estimated RM4.3bil, as the agreement includes a variable cost clause which accounts for possible increase in building material prices.

According to UEM World Bhd chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, the RM4.3bil price tag was based on building material prices as at end-December 2007 and included the cost of land acquisition and design.

Since January, international prices of steel and cement have escalated close to 50%. Locally, the Government has also liberalised both the sectors by removing the ceiling prices of certain-related products.


Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin

Managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin said, however, having the clause did not mean that the group “would be irresponsible to allow the project cost to increase”.

“This project won't be completed next month but will last until 2011.

“Today, the prices are up but we don't need to buy all the steel and concrete unless we're so conservative to assume that the uptrend will continue for the next two years,” he said after the company AGM yesterday.

Saying that construction was likely to pick up speed in the “next couple of months,” Ahmad Pardas added that the group could leverage on its subsidiary, Cement Industries of Malaysia Bhd, to manage part of the material cost.

Ahmad Tajuddin noted that the Government planned to open the tender for the concession to operate and maintain the bridge.

“The bridge will be owned by the Government, which will determine the toll rate later,” he said, adding that UEM World intended to submit a bid for the concession.

Ahmad Pardas said the group saved about 25% in procurement cost for its Nusajaya project, thanks to e-bidding and pre-buying strategies.

Despite the current challenging economic conditions, UEM World is determined to achieve its key performance index of 13% growth in revenue and return on equity (ROE) of 13% for the year ending Dec 31, 2008.

This would be driven by its engineering and construction, healthcare and property development businesses, Ahmad Pardas said.

Last year, UEM World's revenue grew 46% while generating a ROE of 41%.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:12 AM   #270
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UEM World Keen To Manage And Operate Penang Second Bridge


KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) -- UEM World Bhd, the contractor for the Penang Second Bridge project, is prepared to make an attractive bid to manage and operate it on behalf of the government.

"If the government does call for bids to manage and operate the bridge, we are ready to put up an attractive one. We have the experience and expertise," said UEM World chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali after the group's annual general meeting here Wednesday.

UEM World currently manages the PLUS Expressway, Touch 'n Go Sdn Bhd (formerly Rangkaian Segar Sdn Bhd) and Projek Penyelenggaraan Lebuhraya Bhd.

Ahmad Tajuddin said UEM World and its subsidiary UEM Builders Bhd, which was undertaking construction of the RM4.3 billion second bridge project, were focusing on completing it on schedule.

"The contract agreement is being finalised and we hope to sign it soon," he said.

UEM World's managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin said there were some changes in the aesthetics related to the second bridge design but the functionality remained.

"This is a government project, so let it make the announcement on the design and related details," he said.

Earlier this month, UEM Builders sought and received approval from the government to increase the construction cost for the bridge from the initial RM2.8 billion. This was due to the increase in fuel prices and building materials.

The 24-kilometre bridge project is undertaken by UEM Builders in a joint venture with China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd. Preliminary work has started and the project is on track for completion by 2011.

On UEM World's performance for the current financial year ending Dec 31, 2008, Ahmad Pardas said the group was targeting a 13 percent revenue growth and a return on equity of 13 percent.

The group posted RM1.5 billion in revenue and RM115 million in net profit for its first quarter ended March 31, 2008.

Ahmad Pardas said UEM World's construction division was taking several measures to shield itself from the risk of rising cost in construction materials.

On its corporate restructuring exercise, Ahmad Pardas said it was progressing well and an extraordinary general meeting on this is expected to be held in August this year.

Upon completion of the exercise, UEM Land will take over the listed status of UEM World on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia.

-- BERNAMA
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #271
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UEM confirms it only builds Second Penang Bridge
by Racheal Lee Mei Nyee
Email us your feedback at fd@bizedge.com


KUALA LUMPUR: UEM World Bhd confirmed that the group is only awarded the job to build the Second Penang Bridge and not the concession to manage and operate the infrastructure.

Its group chairman Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali said the government would be funding the project and “would later decide” on the management of the bridge and its toll collection.

He said the amendment on the government’s plan was due to “the changes in the economic and political environment”. The construction works would be given to the group’s subsidiary UEM Builders Bhd, which had formed a joint venture with China Harbour Engineering Company for the project, he added.

Originally, UEM group, in which Khazanah Nasional Bhd is a major shareholder, would build the bridge and hold the toll concession which would allow the group to recover its investment in building the infrastructure. This has been the usual way the government dishes out public infrastructure projects where the contractors and concessionaire are the same.

The Second Penang Bridge project has become a contentious issue as the opposition coalition demands better transparency on public projects. Questions ranging from the costing to the award of the project have been raised with the federal government. It has also been reported that both UEM Builder and the Chinese company are not seeing eye to eye on the issue of cost.

The cost of the Second Penang Bridge project has ballooned 59% to RM4.3 billion as a result of rising building materials costs compared with the initial budget of RM2.7 billion when UEM group was awarded the project in November 2006.

Under the construction contract, the project cost of RM4.3 billion (based on the pricing on Dec 31, 2007) includes land acquisition and design of the bridge.

In addition, there is a clause on cost escalation to cater for possible increase in the price of core building materials such as steel and cement.

“The costs are fluctuating, profit margin is always under pressure,” commented group CEO Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin when asked whether UEM group would fetch a double-digit profit margin from the construction works.

“We will try our best to contain the building costs... it is a challenge to manage the cost,” said Ahmad Pardas.

Asked whether the group had secured its building materials requirement, given that the construction work had already started, he said it was “difficult” to do so because of the current high prices.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 04:33 AM   #272
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2nd Penang bridge's cost may breach RM5b
By Marina Emmanuel Published: 2008/07/03



The total cost has escalated to RM4.59 billion from RM3.6 billion, says UEM Group, adding that it can pass on extra costs if the prices of raw materials go up further


UEM Group Bhd, the main contractor of the second Penang bridge, says the total cost of the project is now RM4.59 billion, but it can even breach RM5 billion if prices of raw materials rise further.

"The costs of these items can only be determined as and when we procure them," managing director Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin told reporters during a site visit at Batu Kawan on mainland Penang.

The bulk of the cost, or RM3.32 billion, is for the portion of the bridge over water, followed by RM997 million for the portion over land. Another RM285 million is for the design, concept and preliminary works that was agreed with the government.

However, UEM can pass on additional costs if the price of materials like steel, is higher.



"I believe that without the fluctuation clause (in an agreement signed between UEM and the government), no organisation will be willing to start any construction because you will definitely be running at a loss," said Ahmad Pardas.

"I would also like to clarify that the original costing for the whole project is RM3.6 billion and not RM2.7 billion as reported by some media previously.

"The RM2.7 billion was actually referred to the cost of building the 17km-bridge span over water. As the construction of a bridge would also include those built on land, another RM900 million should also be included in the original costing as it was allocated to build expressways, interchange and toll plazas," Ahmad Pardas added.

The 24km second Penang bridge (of which 17km will be on water) will link Penang Island and Seberang Prai.

UEM Construction Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of UEM Builders Bhd, has named port builder and bridge construction firm China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd as its main contractor.

UEM Group now holds the concession for the first Penang bridge. Under that agreement, UEM could seek compensation if a second bridge was built.

However, Ahmad Pardas declined to say what UEM is planning to do, saying there are many ways to deal with the issue.

UEM Group also yesterday indicated its intention to tender for the concession rights of the second bridge.

"The company has the experience and knowledge as its is currently managing two important crossings which are the Penang Bridge and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.

"All these will definitely help justify why UEM Group should be the most suitable party ...," Ahmad Pardas said.

Meanwhile, UEM is set to buy 112ha of land in Batu Kawan and Batu Maung for the project. It is expected to pay a total of RM57 million in compensation to affected parties which include private land owners and Penang Development Corp.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 05:48 AM   #273
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Bridge project right on schedule


NIBONG TEBAL: The second Penang bridge will be completed in 2011 as scheduled, and the cost will be RM4.5bil.

UEM Group Berhad managing director and chief executive officer Ahmad Pardas Senin said the commonly quoted figure of RM3.6bil was only for the cost of the construction of the bridge over water.

This did not take into account the RM900mil needed to construct the 7km expressway linking it to the North South Expressway.


Ongoing project: A general view of the casting yard for the second Penang bridge in Batu Kawan Wednesday.

He explained that there was a price fluctuation clause to account for price changes in building materials and it did not necessarily mean that the final cost would be higher than the estimate because the clause took into consideration prices of building materials going up or down.

Ahmad Pardas said he believed that without the fluctuation clause, no organisation would be willing to start any construction because it would definitely be running at a loss.

“We are committed to completing the job by the end of 2011,” he told a press conference at the project site office here, after a site visit with the media yesterday.

He said the cost of building the bridge now stood at RM4.585bil, including RM285mil in development cost.

“The price of steel has increased by 60% and while fuel went up by 40%. The cost of building the bridge has only gone up by 10.4%,” he said.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had last month asked the Federal Government to explain why the cost of the second Penang bridge project had ballooned from RM2.7bil to RM4.5bil within a year, saying that an explanation was necessary because Penangites would eventually have to bear the expense through toll rates.

Ahmad Pardas clarified that the original cost for the whole project was RM3.6bil and not RM2.7bil as reported in the media.

He said work to build the bridge had not stopped since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony in November 2006.

The project is undertaken by UEM and Chinese Harbour Engineering Company, which holds a 51% stake and the rest by UEM.

Ahmad Pardas said UEM would spend RM57mil to acquire about 113ha of land belonging to individuals and the Penang Development Corporation for the project.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 06:05 AM   #274
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This did not take into account the RM900mil needed to construct the 7km expressway linking it to the North South Expressway.
Why so much? Can someone be so kind to break it down how to spend RM 900 mil; for a 7 km highway link?
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 08:14 AM   #275
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Kumpulan UEM belanja RM200 juta

Oleh Mowardi Mahmud

PULAU Pinang 2 Julai - Kumpulan UEM Bhd. (UEM), kontraktor utama yang dilantik kerajaan untuk menerajui pembinaan Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang yang keseluruhannya berharga RM4.58 bilion, sehingga kini membelanjakan lebih RM200 juta untuk projek berkenaan.

Pengarah Urusan dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kumpulan, Datuk Ahmad Pardas Senin berkata, daripada jumlah itu, RM100 juta dibelanjakan untuk membina kilang pratuang gelegar kekotak di Batu Kawan, di sini untuk menghasilkan gelegar kekotak, komponen paling kritikal dalam pembinaan jambatan tersebut.

''Tidak ramai yang tahu (ada kos yang dibelanjakan) sebelum projek itu perlu disiapkan kerana pada mereka kemajuan projek hanyalah apabila jambatan itu telah tegak berdiri'' kata Ahmad Pardas dalam satu taklimat media kepada para wartawan yang dibawa melawat tapak projek pembinaan jambatan itu di sini hari ini,

Beliau juga menjelaskan kos pembinaan jambatan itu sahaja telah meningkat sebanyak 20 peratus kepada RM4.3 bilion sejak kos keseluruhan projek diputuskan pada Disember 2007 disebabkan oleh kenaikan harga bahan mentah dan juga bahan api.

Ahmad Pardas berkata, pihaknya sekadar meminta kenaikan kos pada jumlah yang sepatutnya meskipun terdapat klausa perjanjian yang membenarkan ia dinaikkan sekiranya berlaku kenaikan bahan mentah untuk membolehkan projek itu disiapkan.

Sebelum ini dilaporkan bahawa perjanjian antara Kumpulan UEM dan kerajaan mempunyai klausa yang membenarkan harga projek dinaikkan berdasarkan kenaikan bahan-bahan mentah utama seperti besi keluli, konkrit dan simen.

''Sekiranya harga bahan mentah naik, kos pembinaan juga akan naik. Saya percaya tanpa klausa itu tiada mana-mana organisasi akan bersedia untuk memulakan pembinaan kerana ia akan mengalami kerugian operasi," kata beliau.

Bagaimanapun, kata beliau, di bawah klausa itu, kos pembinaan jambatan tersebut akan dikurangkan sekiranya terdapat penurunan dalam harga bahan mentah utama.

Beliau berkata, pihaknya juga berdepan dengan keadaan di mana sukar untuk mendapatkan bekalan besi keluli dan sekiranya terdapat bekalan, jumlah yang mahu dijual hanya sebahagian kerana wujudnya pihak mahu mengaut keuntungan lebih jika berlaku kenaikan harga.

Ahmad Pardas menjelaskan: ''Kos asal projek berkenaan adalah RM3.6 bilion dan bukan RM2.7 bilion seperti yang dilaporkan media sebelum ini. Kos sebanyak RM2.7 bilion adalah merujuk kepada kos membina jambatan di atas air sepanjang 17 kilometer.

''Memandangkan ia juga meliputi pembinaan jambatan termasuk yang dibina di kawasan daratan, sejumlah RM900 juta lagi perlu dimasukkan dalam kos asal (RM3.6 bilion) kerana termasuk pembinaan lebuh raya, susur keluar masuk dan plaza tol, '' kata beliau lagi.

Ahmad Pardas sekali lagi mengulangi jaminan bahawa projek jambatan itu akan dapat disiapkan sebelum akhir tahun 2011 di sebalik laporan yang membayangkan projek berkenaan tertangguh kerana didakwa timbul beberapa isu termasuk ketidaksefahaman dengan rakan kongsi dari China.

''Dalam mana-mana hubungan, akan ada pihak yang bersetuju dan juga sebaliknya. Malah, terdapat juga keadaan di mana kami lebih banyak bersetuju berbanding tidak bersetuju," kata beliau yang tidak menolak kemungkinan bahawa rakan kongsi China itu akan menjadi rakan kongsi dalam menerokai pasaran lain di luar negara.

Ditanya tentang wujudnya klausa perjanjian di mana Kumpulan UEM yang membina jambatan pertama Pulau Pinang akan diberikan pampasan sekiranya terdapat pembinaan jambatan kedua di negeri tersebut, Ahmad Pardas berkata, perkara itu perlu dibincangkan dengan pihak berkuasa dan terdapat banyak cara untuk menyelesaikannya.
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Old July 6th, 2008, 08:23 AM   #276
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dengilo View Post
This did not take into account the RM900mil needed to construct the 7km expressway linking it to the North South Expressway.
Why so much? Can someone be so kind to break it down how to spend RM 900 mil; for a 7 km highway link?
900millions for this? You choose it.. 'Over engineered expressway' or 'over engineered finance cost'?

Presuming standard price; rm100 millions for the toll plaza; 400millions for the multiple interchanges and flyovers, another rm100millions for 7km expressway; the balance rm300 millions ship out to swiss bank? Anyone to clarify?
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Old July 6th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #277
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The numbers you give seems to be extremely relevant, given that we are talking about Malaysia here. That's the problem when contracts, even megaprojects, are awarded by negotiation, not by open tender.
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Old July 9th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #278
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Second Penang Bridge loan risks being withdrawn
by Pauline Puah
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KUALA LUMPUR: The US$800 million (RM2.6 billion) soft loan from the Chinese government for the Second Penang Bridge is at risk of being withdrawn if the shareholders' agreement between UEM Builders Bhd and its joint-venture (JV) partner China Harbour Engineering Co Ltd (CHEC) is not inked by next month, according to a DAP member of parliament from Penang.

The MP for Jelutong, Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun, who is also the chief of staff in the chief minister's office, said he was informed of the matter in a briefing to Penang state government by CHEC last week.

"The soft loan might be withdrawn if CHEC and UEM do not sign the official agreement by August. This (the possibility of the loan being withdrawn) is because the banks in China have already got the facility ready since last October without collecting any interest. Any further delay will only jeopardise returns because they can't collect interest on the facility," he said at a press conference in parliament yesterday.

CHEC and UEM Builders have been mandated to construct the second bridge that is likely to cost in excess of RM4.5 billion. CHEC has a 51% stake in the joint venture. In April this year, UEM Builders announced that the agreement to formalise the joint venture has been extended by another nine months.

It has been reported that there have been disagreements between the two parties on the apportionment of the cost of building the bridge. But considering that UEM has been given a variation on the price (VOP) for its portion, the issue of cost apportionment is expected to be resolved soon. Ooi said whatever disagreements between the parties should be ironed out as soon as possible.

"Should the project fall apart, it would bring embarrassment to the Malaysian government. The federal government has suspended the PORR (Penang Outer Ring Road) and monorail projects in Penang. Therefore, it should ensure that the Second (Penang) Bridge will not be jeopardised," he said.

UEM Builders Bhd managing director Datuk Ridza Abdoh Salleh, however, had in previous reports denied the company's dispute with CHEC, saying that it was only disagreements on "design issues".

He had also denied that UEM Builders had presented or submitted any proposals to the government to carry out the project without CHEC.

Last July, Malaysia and China had inked a US$800mil loan agreement for the bridge. The loan was the largest given by China for a single project in a foreign country so far.

Ooi had raised the issue of the Penang bridge in parliament on Monday during the debate on the Ninth Malaysia Plan mid-term review report. However, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop did not answer the question when winding up the debate yesterday.
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Old July 13th, 2008, 03:14 AM   #279
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by Bask Oner

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Old July 22nd, 2008, 08:34 AM   #280
rizalhakim
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Jambatan kedua tidak ditangguh

PULAU PINANG 21 Julai - Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang tidak akan ditangguhkan dan sedang dalam proses pembinaan.

Ketua Menteri, Lim Guan Eng berkata, kerajaan negeri telah dimaklumkan bahawa kerja-kerja tanah dilaksanakan mengikut jadual.

Selain itu, katanya, kerajaan negeri juga dimaklumkan bahawa proses akhir perundingan mengenai kos projek dengan pihak syarikat akan dibentangkan ke Kabinet untuk diputuskan.

''Masalah utama yang dihadapi bagi pelaksanaan projek itu ialah kelewatan yang mengakibatkan kenaikan harga bahan-bahan binaan yang mendadak sehingga menyebabkan kos pembinaan jambatan itu meningkat kepada hampir RM5 bilion.

''Jambatan kedua ini dijadualkan siap dan dibuka kepada orang awam pada Januari 2011,'' katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika menjawab soalan lisan BN-Sungai Dua, Jasmin Mohamed pada Sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) di sini hari ini.

Menurut Guan Eng, Kerajaan Persekutuan terpaksa menyelaras semula siling berikutan kenaikan harga bahan-bahan dan selain itu masalah yang dihadapi ialah bayaran pampasan kepada penternak kerang, nelayan pantai dan penternak ikan dalam sangkar.
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