KUALA LUMPUR: Local companies, particularly from the minority groups, must be given equal opportunities in the construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), said Minority Business Chamber (MBC).
Its vice-chairman Harnarain Singh Gill, in commending the government for the signing of a supplementary agreement for the resumption of the ECRL, said priorities should be given to the locals in a bid to enhance national economy.
In addition, contracts previously awarded to cronies under the previous administration should also cease immediately, he said.
“We hope that the supplementary agreement which covers the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning aspects of the ECRL gives equal opportunities to Malaysian contractors and supply companies, especially within the minority communities,” he said in a statement today.
“We expect and hope that cronies of the previous government with false track records will also not even be considered for this project, thus gives real chance to thousands of real contractors out there.”
The government, on Friday, announced that the ECRL project would resume at a reduced cost of RM44 billion after a supplementary agreement was signed between Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC).
The reduction of RM21.5 billion, from its original cost of RM65.5 billion, was achieved after months of negotiations between the companies involved, as well as the governments of Malaysia and China.
Harnarain said MBC would be willing to assist and lend its expertise to the government in the due diligence and selection process of contractors and suppliers to ensure the locals benefit both directly and indirectly.
“MBC would be glad to submit a list of qualified minority contractors to the government so that they can be given due chance,” he added.
The ECRL project was initiated by the previous Barisan Nasional government but was suspended last year following Pakatan Harapan election victory, due to high cost.