PETALING JAYA: The civil works portion of the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has attracted 1,321 submissions from construction companies during the pre-qualification exercise held on May 29 and 30.

According to the main contractor China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), participation of G7 category of CIDB rated companies topped the list with 859 submissions or 65% of total submissions.

This was followed by the Grade G5 category with 134 submissions and Grade G4 category with 132 submissions. The remaining consisted of Grade G3 and Grade G6 with 104 submissions and 92 submissions respectively.

The exercise, which was held to identify potential subcontractors, also attracted submissions from 994 Bumiputera engineering and construction companies representing 75.25% of overall registration.

Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and CCCC said in a joint statement today that the response shows that local contractors are ready to demonstrate their willingness and capabilities to participate in mega infrastructure projects.

The revised ECRL project includes an increase in civil works participation for local contractors from 30% to 40% of the project, as agreed by the asset-owner MRL and CCCC.

“We also hope that ECRL project will be an exemplary government project that demonstrates the capabilities of our local contractors to work with an international contractor in carrying out and meeting the high standards of a large-scale infrastructure project,” said MRL CEO Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak.

“With the participation of local contractors, this will not just act as stimulus to the local construction sector but will also serve as a catalyst in the transfer of knowledge and technology in view of the ECRL project to be among the most challenging engineering and construction projects in Malaysia,” he added.

MRL urged local industry players to participate in the ECRL project not just as contractors, but also as suppliers, consultants and other relevant scopes, and hopes that local contractors can demonstrate their capabilities, technical know-how and offer their services competitively.

“As such, we hope that Malaysian local contractors would highly benefit from the co-operation and sharing of knowledge and technology that will, in the end, maximise the commercial impact of the Malaysian government’s investment by increasing the competitiveness and also improvements in the quality of products and services provided by the Malaysian contractors,” said China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd managing director Bai Yinzhan.

Following the pre-qualification exercise, MRL will be working closely with CCCC in the evaluation and shortlisting process of 1,321 construction companies to be potential tenderers of the ECRL’s civil works packages. Companies that are successful in the shortlisting will be notified in writing by CCCC.

The ECRL project’s rail network would traverse the East Coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang as well as the states of Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Putrajaya. The 640km rail network is scheduled for completion by December 2026 and is expected to link Kota Bharu to Putrajaya in about four hours.