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China's BUCG removed from RM6.3 bil Penang mega project

LIm Guan EngGEORGE TOWN (Sept 6): Chinese state-run firm Beijing Urban Construction Group Co Ltd (BUCG) has been removed as partner in a consortium tasked with building the RM6.3 billion mega project in Penang, after BUCG was found responsible for the recent fatal accident on Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur.

In the Aug 25 incident, a woman was killed when a crane hook at a construction site fell on her car.

Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd comprises BUCG, Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd and Juteras Sdn Bhd, which was selected as the contractor to undertake the mega project covering a 6.5km undersea tunnel linking Penang to Butterworth and three expressways after a request for proposal was made by the state in 2013.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (pictured) today revealed a letter signed by Consortium Zenith BUCG chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli dated Sept 1 seeking the state's permission for BUCG’s withdrawal as a shareholder and a change in name for the consortium in a bid to safeguard both the consortium's and state’s credibility.

He said the Penang government has consented to the removal of BUCG (M) Sdn Bhd from Consortium Zenith BUCG.

However, he assured that BUCG's removal will not affect the delivery of the project as the consortium had appointed China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) as its engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project.

Lim, who called on BUCG on Aug 29 to explain the falling crane hook incident, reiterated that he is not keen to have such a company to be involved in the undersea tunnel project if it failed to do so.

“Seeing that BUCG is only one of the contractors to build the undersea tunnel and that it seemed not keen to take responsibility for the crane hook incident, we asked Zenith to reconsider its partnership with them," Lim told a press conference here today.

“We want contractors that are responsible and not those that take people’s lives for granted. (When) Consortium Zenith BUCG wrote to us requesting our approval for the removal, we agreed to it,” he added.

It was reported that on Aug 25, Chin Khoon Sing, who is from Noordin Street in George Town, died after a one-tonne crane hook at a construction site became detached and fell 20 storeys on her Perodua Kelisa passing by Jalan Raja Chulan.

According to news reports, BUCG was the lead contractor for the city centre hotel project by Harmoni Perkasa Sdn Bhd. BUCG had claimed that it worked with Yekon Equipment (M) Sdn Bhd, owner of the crane equipment and crane operator called Sufiyan Enterprise.

Lim also said on the state's part, there is no breach of contract and compensation incurred in the removal of BUCG from the consortium.

“The issue is between Zenith and BUCG. They will sort it [out] and we do not have to pay compensation to BUCG. The fact is they did not respond to our statement to assume responsibility by contacting Chin’s family,” he said.

In the letter to the Penang government, Zarul said CRCC will continue with the project as the consortium’s joint-venture partner in accordance with its commitment.

He added that Zenith would also change the name of the consortium at the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) to reflect the change of partners. “We are waiting for SSM to suggest a few names before we inform the state." — theedgemarkets.com

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