KUALA LUMPUR (May 10): MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian project delivery vehicle of Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (KL-Singapore HSR) project, yesterday called for a tender to appoint a commercial advisory consultant (CAC) for the project review exercise.

In a statement, MyHSR Corp said the appointed consultant will be required to develop a new business model that will enable optimal project life-cycle cost, provide updated ridership forecasts and assessment on the benefits the rail project will bring to the country.

The call for tender is noted to be the second one in relation to the KL-Singapore HSR project review exercise.
MyHSR Corp had previously called a tender to appoint the technical advisory consultant (TAC) in April to assist in technical matters.

MyHSR chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal noted that the TAC tender, which has received encouraging interest and support from the market, is still ongoing and is expected to be completed by Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

“The CAC tender that MyHSR is launching now looks to address the commercial aspects of the project. With the appointments of both the TAC and the CAC, a comprehensive project review exercise will be completed, and a report will then be prepared and submitted to the government, prior to the end of the suspension period in May 2020.

“We encourage all firms with the relevant experience to participate in this tender as the findings of this review will help us chart the right course for this project,” Ismal added.

The Edge Malaysia weekly last month reported that some 200 consulting companies were reported to be attending a tender briefing by MyHSR Corp on the role of the TAC. The independent consultants’ role, among others, is to review the project cost, which was estimated at nearly RM110 billion.

To recap, the governments of Malaysia and Singapore had on Sept 5, 2018 agreed to suspend the construction of the KL-Singapore HSR project until May 31, 2020. Malaysia had initially requested for a deferment of the project citing cost constraints.

Following the suspension, MyHSR said it has been working with the Malaysian government to review the project in order to identify cost reduction options.

At the retreat last month in Putrajaya, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong formally noted that Malaysia was exploring the possible way forward, with the aim of cost reduction.

If the project were to be scrapped, the South China Morning Post reported in September that Singapore would seek reimbursement of S$250 million (RM762 million) for sunk costs.

So far, Malaysia has reimbursed Singapore S$15 million for “abortive costs” incurred on account of the delay. For Singapore, the government has already done with land acquisition and the establishment of an agency to oversee the development.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 10, 2019.

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