KUALA LUMPUR (June 12): More than 1,000 construction companies nationwide are eyeing the 40% civil works portion of the RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project following a Pre-Qualification (Pre-Q) exercise to identify potential subcontractors.

In a joint statement today, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) said a total of 1,321 submissions from Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) registered companies were received by ECRL's main contractor, CCCC, during the Pre-Q exercise on May 29-30 this year.

MRL and CCCC said participation of G7 category of CIDB-rated companies topped the list with 859 submissions or 65%.

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 firms said Bumiputera participation was also very encouraging.

The two-day ECRL Pre-Q exercise had recorded submissions of 994 Bumiputera engineering and construction companies representing 75.25% of the overall registration.

MRL, being the ECRL project owner, highly encouraged local industry players especially local contractors to proactively seize any opportunities to participate in the ECRL project not just as contractors but also as suppliers, consultants and other relevant scopes. It is MRL's hope that local contractors can bring their A-game and able to demonstrate their capabilities, their technical know-how and to offer their services competitively.

MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak said the firm hopes that the ECRL project will be an exemplary government project that demonstrates the capabilities of local contractors to work with an international contractor in carrying out and meeting the high standards of a large-scale infrastructure project.

"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 said.

Meanwhile, CCC (ECRL) Sdn Bhd managing director Bai Yinzhan said Malaysian local contractors would highly benefit from the cooperation and sharing of knowledge and technology that will, in the end, maximize the commercial impact of the Malaysian government's investment by increasing the competitiveness and also improve the quality of products and services provided by the Malaysian contractors.

MRL said following the Pre-Q exercise, it 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.

It said companies that are shortlisted will be notified in writing by CCCC.

MRL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Inc, is the project and asset owner of the ECRL.

The 640-km rail network is scheduled for completion by December 2026.

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