Construction of MRT project benefits local SMEs
21 Jul 2017 | The Borneo Post
Photo shows construction work on Cochrane MRT underground station in 2013.

KUCHING: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a pivotal role in the development and growth of Malaysia’s economy.

The construction of the mass rapid transit (MRT) project has provided a major opportunity for local SMEs to play their part in developing and strengthening the country’s public transportation system.

The MRT project is also a platform for local SMEs to equip themselves with the necessary skills to compete globally.

Malaysia’s construction sector is expected to see a 9 per cent growth per annum and under the 11th Malaysia Plan, it will also contribute 5 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.

Local SMEs can therefore be seen as the backbone and driving force propelling the country towards fulfilling its vision of developed status by 2020.

Having development projects such as the MRT Lines have indeed had a positive impact on the country’s economy and local SMEs.

According to MRT Corp, MRT Line 1 & Line 2 will be generating RM4 billion-a-year worth of gross national income (GNI), with RM8 billion to RM12 billion in spillover benefits generated from the 2.5 to 3.5 multiplier impact on Malaysia’s economy.

Progress of SMEs

SMEs are major contributors to Malaysia’s economy and are vital to the production of components and tools, as well as provision of services to various industries.

Statistics show that 97 per cent of business entities in Malaysia are SMEs, which contribute 36 per cent to the country’s GDP.

SMEs are also regarded as the largest providers of employment in the country, with 65 per cent of jobs coming from the sector.

MMC Gamuda’s vital role inSME development

MMC Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd is the contractor for underground works of the first MRT Line – Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) and for the second MRT Line – Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP).

Up till April this year, 43 per cent of tenders or 347 contracts valued at RM6.7 billion were awarded to various SMEs.

Around 98 per cent of the tunnelling works were carried out by SMEs, while other specialised works – such as manufacturing of Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), TBM support systems and consultancy work – were assigned to foreign corporations.

More participation in SMEs were extended as the underground alignment in SSP Line is longer and with more underground stations.

Benefits for the local companies

The involvement of SMEs in this mega project is meaningful because their participation in such infrastructure development projects would enable them to expand and improve their skills in the use of advanced technology and tools.

It is also in tandem with the Ministry of Works’ Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP) to enhance productivity under the P6 Initiative – heightening the capacity and capability of Bumiputera SMEs.

Zumatex Engineering Sdn Bhd director Mayamas Omar said the company has been given a contract for the relocation of gas pipes at KL Sentral and Merdeka for the SBK Line as well as Sentul West, KLCC Timur, and Kampung Baru Utara for the SSP Line worth RM12 million. “We have invested in RM10 million in our equipment for gas relocation works since working on SBK Line,” said Mayamas.

Also awarded a contract was Worktime Engineering Sdn Bhd, which will focus on relocating power cables at KL Sentral, Pasar Seni, Merdeka, and Bukit Bintang.

The same company has also been given another contract to prepare power cables for tunnelling operation works between Hospital KL and Titiwangsa for the SSP Line, at RM11 million.

Company director Affendy Arifin opined that taking part in public transport projects such as the MRT would further develop SMEs.

“With the contracts we’re given, the company will be able to upgrade technology and skills. This will directly motivate the company to stay more competitive in the long term,” said Affendy.

For Fastpro Sdn Bhd director Elmi Shamsul Saman, the company is set to benefit a lot in terms of know-how and skills from participating in the MRT project.

“Fastpro is confident that we can procure more business when we succeed in offering services for the SSP Line,” he said.

Fastpro has been awarded a contract to relocate fibre optics at Maluri as well as preparing power supply for tunnelling works from Conlay to Hospital KL for the SSP Line, valued at RM6 million.

Huls Transmission Sdn Bhd director Asmalina Mohd Napiah said the company was pleased to be a part of the mega project.

“Starting with the relocation of power cables at Maluri for the SBK Line and now at KLCC Timur for the SSP Line involving contracts of RM8 million, we can upgrade our skills and technology,” she said.