MRT Corp CEO quits over fatal mishap

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid — who had been chief executive officer (CEO) of Mass Rapid Transit Corp Bhd (MRT Corp) since September 2011 — resigned yesterday to take responsibility for the fatal mishap that occurred at the MRT worksite within the former Rubber Research Institute near Kota Damansara in Petaling Jaya on Monday night.

The incident resulted in the deaths of three Bangladeshi construction workers after a concrete span collapsed.

“As the head of MRT Corp, I am taking personal responsibility for the incident and this is the correct thing to do. I have informed the chairman of MRT Corp, Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, of my decision,” he said in a statement.

The company’s director of investor relations and land management, Haris Fadzilah Hassan, will become acting CEO.

At a press conference yesterday, Azhar told reporters that MRT Corp and the relevant authorities will investigate the incident and will take legal action against those found guilty to prevent a recurrence.

“Initial investigation at the worksite found that the contractors’ failure to implement standard operating procedures (SOP) on safety led to the deaths of the workers.

“We will also not spare anyone whose actions are found to have caused or contributed to this accident,” he said.

“Immediate checks carried out have revealed that there is no reason for the public to worry about the other spans which have been built along the alignment. There is absolutely no issue with structural integrity along our alignment,” he added.

Azhar was appointed CEO of MRT Corp on Sep 1, 2011 following the government’s decision to set up the company to take over the ownership and development of the Klang Valley MRT Project from Syarikat Prasarana Malaysia Bhd.

MRT Corp said Azhar had constantly stressed on the need to improve safety in the construction industry, and had created the Contractor’s Performance Assessment System, where safety, health and environment are among the items on which contractors are assessed, and the blacklisting of contractors who breach safety procedures.

Analysts have touted Azhar’s decision to resign as “walking the talk”, as he had previously emphasised his stance on safety and have labelled his resignation as a “responsible decision”.

Meanwhile, all work along Package V1 where the incident occurred has been suspended until further notice. The work package contractor for Package V1 is Syarikat Muhibah Perniagaan dan Pembinaan Sdn Bhd (SMPP).

Analysts have touted Azhar’s decision to resign as ‘walking the talk’.

A MRT Corp official was reported as saying that the contractor will be penalised for the concrete block collapse.

According to SMPP’s website, the company, which has completed some RM1 billion worth of projects, has a Class A bumiputera licence.

Two months ago, MRT Corp had sacked and blacklisted its sub-contractor, Bersatu Hati Enterprise from getting contracts related to the Klang Valley MRT project due to a metal slab which fell on a car at the Pusat Bandar Damansara MRT construction site.

This is not the first fatal incident involving a rail project in Malaysia. In another rail project, TRC Synergy Bhd, the main contractor for the RM950 million Package A Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit extension project, was issued a stop-work order after construction equipment fell off the rail track in Subang and killed a motorist in March last year.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 20, 2014.


Looking for properties to buy or rent? With >150,000 exclusive listings, including undervalued properties, from vetted Pro Agents, you can now easily find the right property on Malaysia's leading property portal EdgeProp! You can also get free past transacted data and use our proprietary Edge Reference Price tool, to make an informed purchase.