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Second Penang Bridge contractors may build US$2.9b Padma Bridge, says Samy Vellu

KUALA LUMPUR (April 10): Corporations involved in the construction of the second Penang Bridge have a good potential of joining the consortium created by the government to undertake the US$2.9 billion (RM8.9 billion) Padma multi-purpose bridge (PMB) project in Bangladesh, says Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu.

The Special Envoy to India and South Asia said there were five companies which have agreed to undertake the job under a soon-to-be formed consortium.

"I have spoken to United Engineers, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, PAG Consult Sdn Bhd and Eversendai Corp Bhd, particularly to contractors who are currently undertaking the second Penang Bridge project.

"They might venture into this job," he told reporters here on Tuesday.

Earlier, Samy signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), on the behalf of the government, with the People's Republic of Bangladesh, represented by its Communication Minister Obaidul Quader, to facilitate cooperation in the construction of the bridge.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak witnessed the signing of the agreement.

Under the MoU, the Malaysian government would form a consortium of companies to implement the project on a Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) concession basis.

The Padma Bridge is a 6.15km multi-purpose road-rail bridge across the Padma River which will connect Louhajong, Munshiganj to Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the south-west of Bangladesh to northern and eastern regions.

When completed, it will be the country's biggest infrastructure project to date and will be declared the largest bridge in Bangladesh as well as the first fixed river crossing for road traffic.

Samy Vellu said his office would recommend the companies which have shown interest to the special committee formed under the Works Ministry.

"The construction of the PMB is scheduled to commence this year and we hope to complete it in 54 months. This process is needed to evaluate the companies and later when the committee agrees, we will bring the companies to Bangladesh.

"The contractors will not only be contractors. They must bring a financier to fund some US$2.4 billion. The Malaysian government will not involve in the financing," he added.

Under the MoU, the government would form a consortium of Malaysian companies to implement the project on a Build, Operate, Own and Transfer concession basis.

The Padma bridge project came under the spotlight after the World Bank suspended a US$1.2 billion loan to finance the project, alleging corruption.

Besides the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank has pledged US$610 million, Japan International Cooperation Agency sanctioned US$400 million and the Islamic Development Bank pledged US$140 million as loan for the project. — Bernama

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