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Stop the corporate arrogance!

October 17, 2018

MRT2: MMC-Gamudia does not have to show arrogance

I AM miffed by the claim that any termination of the underground section of the Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 (MRT2) would leave 20,000 people jobless.

Pardon me for my ignorance. I had never thought that with the state-of-the-art tunnel boring technology we would require that many workers.

If we do, Alhamdullillah. It means jobs for some of our people and for tens of thousands more Bangladeshis and an assortment of other imported workers.

The contractor, MMC-Gamuda KVMRT Sdn Bhd had claimed in the media that any termination of the contract to build the underground portion of the MRT2 would result in over 20,000 job losses from a supply chain of over 600 Malaysian companies.

I would have no problem understanding the requirement of that many workers if the tunnel is dug by hands using cangkuls, pick axes, wheelbarrows and dynamite.

I though with tunnel boring machines (TBMs) we would need, at the most, a few hundred workers. My Internet search tells me that at any one time there will be around 16 people working in a TBM.

So if a TBM operates around the clock on 8-hour shift, some 50 people would be needed. And if MMC-Gamuda KVMRT has 12 TBMs as it claimed, the number of workers is 50×12=600.

Sorry for my simple-mindedness! After all I’m only a country yokel.

But if MMC-Gamuda KVMRT is using cangkuls, pick axes and wheelbarrows for the project then it would be easier for me to believe that 20,000 jobs are at stake.

The fact is the government isn’t shelving the tunnel section for the heck of it. With the previous government leaving behind debts exceeding RM1 trillion, the new Pakatan Harapan government needs to save as much money as possible for other expenditure purposes.

People die without medicines and food but they do not die without MRT tunnels!

Be Reasonable

To begin with, the government had accepted the offer by MMC-Gamuda KVMRT to reduce the cost of the above ground portion of the project by RM5.2 billion to RM17.4 billion – a 23-percent reduction.

The contract for the underground portion was terminated because the government and MMC-Gamuda KVMRT could not reach an agreement on the required price reduction.

But the Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had since said that the government would make another assessment regarding the termination.

Still not everything is lost. Thanks to what appears to be MMC-Gamuda KVMRT’s arrogance and poor public relations, we now know how well paid their head honchos are and how ungrateful some Malaysian corporations can be.

This reminds me of a Chief Operating Officer of a Government-Linked Company (GLC), who upon being asked by the Council of Eminent Parsons (CEP) how much his salary was, replied: “I can’t remember.”

It turned out that his salary and bonuses annually exceeded RM7 million. Can’t blame him. With an income like that, one does not have to bother about the nitty-gritty.

I hope Malaysian companies, their shareholders, executives and workers study their history.

Let me put it this way. Not a single big name in the Malaysian corporate galaxy today – irrespective of race – that did not get a leg up from the government.

For instance, there might not have been MMC-Gamuda had it not been for the Smart tunnel project and the railway double-tracking.

Even the mighty sugar king, Robert Kuok Hock Nien, traces his wealth to the government when his farther, Kuok Keng Kang, was awarded rice, sugar and wheat trading concessions by the Johor government during the colonial era.

So there is no need for MMC and Gamuda or any other company to be arrogant about their corporate prowess. That goes for their owners and executives as well.

We know who they are!

Thank you.

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From → Malaysia Upclose

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