'Consider Malaysian firms first for large projects'
KUALA LUMPUR: The government should give priority to local private companies when awarding large infrastructure projects, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir said not hiring foreigners or foreign companies would result in greater savings for the country.
"Previously, contracts go to South Korean and Japanese contractors. But by awarding the projects to Malaysian companies, the money stays in Malaysia," he said after visiting a MMC-Gamuda MRT construction site in Cheras, here, yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysian companies have proven that they are capable to handle major projects such as the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) system and the electrified double-tracking rail line. In the past, they had also completed the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel project.
MMC-Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd is currently working on underground and tunneling work for the KVMRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line.
The value of the work is RM8.28 billion and it involves a 9.5km stretch between the SBK Line's Semantan North Portal and Maluri South Portal.
MMC-Gamuda is using 10 tunnel boring machines to excavate the underground section, which runs through the karstic limestone geological formation.
Gamuda Bhd group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said as at end-September, 39 per cent of the work has been completed.
He said construction is expected to reach 50 per cent completion rate before the end of this year.
"Everything is on track ... the elevated portion is 20 per cent certified progress. We haven't seen any major cost over-runs yet," Lin said.