GE­MAS-JB RAIL LINE DE­LAY EX­PLAINED

It is due to val­ueadded mea­sures, says exco man

New Straits Times - - Nation/News - AH­MAD FAIRUZ OTH­MAN JO­HOR BARU news@nst.com.my

IS­SUES re­lated to the co­or­di­na­tion of in­fra­struc­ture that were sup­posed to be built, and re­lo­ca­tion of res­i­dents have caused a de­lay in the Elec­tri­fied dou­ble-track­plans ing project of the rail­way line be­tween Ge­mas and Jo­hor Baru.

Jo­hor Pub­lic Works, Ru­ral and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee chair­man Datuk Hasni Mo­ham­mad con­firmed that there was a de­lay due to “added value” mea­sures put in place fol­low­ing meet­ings held be­tween the Trans­port Min­istry, Jo­hor Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Mo­hamed Khaled Nordin, state gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives and other stake­hold­ers. Th­ese meet­ings re­vealed, among oth­ers, a need to re­view con­struc­tion of sev­eral un­der­passes and over­head bridges that were sup­posed to be built in Klu­ang and Jo­hor Baru to fa­cil­i­tate traf­fic flow in those ar­eas. Hasni said other is­sues also cropped up in­volv­ing some res­i­dents who were sup­posed to be re­lo­cated in the land ac­qui­si­tion ex­er­cise for the rail­way line ex­pan­sion.

Hasni told the New Straits Times the project was still on, and that con­struc­tion work start within the next month.

“There were is­sues dis­cussed in meet­ings be­tween the Trans­port Min­istry and state gov­ern­ment, of which I was in­volved, and among the is­sues raised was the de­lay in the project’s im­ple­men­ta­tion.

“We know that 50 per cent of the con­trac­tors must be lo­cal con­trac­tors.

“They (con­trac­tors) have not re­ceived their scope of work be­cause of a few value-added mea­sures that are go­ing into the ini­tial de­sign (of the project),” Hasni said.

Cit­ing an ex­am­ple, he said there would be im­proved de­signs for un­der­passes, as well as over­head bridges, dot­ting the doub­track­ing rail­way line in Klu­ang and Jo­hor Baru.

“The first de­sign out­lined that sev­eral un­der­passes would be built in Klu­ang, but th­ese were deemed to po­ten­tially cause more traf­fic con­ges­tion in Klu­ang town.

“Sec­ondly, there were re­quests from stake­hold­ers to bring for­ward the time to build two over­head bridges in Ta­man Melodies, Jo­hor Baru, in­stead of its orig­i­nal plan to build them at the end of over­all con­struc­tion pe­riod. This led to amend­ments in work sched­ule,” he said.

“There was a de­lay, which was sup­posed to have taken about two to three months to be re­solved, but th­ese dragged on to six months.

“If you get back to me next month, I pre­dict that the project could have likely started (with its con­struc­tion),” said Hasni.

He said the re­lo­ca­tion ex­er­cise for res­i­dents along the rail­way track to al­low for buf­fer zones to be built had also hit a snag when a small num­ber of res­i­dents did not ad­here to the ex­er­cise.

“For in­stance, a ma­jor­ity of the squat­ters in Klu­ang in­volved in the re­lo­ca­tion ex­er­cise have moved out, but sev­eral of them are still there.

“De­spite be­ing agree­able to the com­pen­sa­tion of­fered, they do not want to move to the des­ig­nated place as they pre­fer to move to a place of their choice.

“In this re­gard, the author­i­ties had to find an am­i­ca­ble and win­win so­lu­tion for all,” he said.

The RM9 bil­lion Ge­mas-Jo­hor Baru elec­tri­fied dou­ble-track­ing project was sup­posed to be­gin con­struc­tion on Dec 1 last year, based on a pre­vi­ous state­ment given by Jo­hor Men­teri Be­sar Datuk Seri Mo­hamed Khaled Nordin.

Datuk Hasni Mo­ham­mad

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