Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Matrade Finally Complete?

After 9 years, and after overspending more than $120 million over and above the original budget, the project was finally completed.

A handover ceremony was held in the building in the presence of International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Rotol-AMS-Bumi Technologies Sdn Bhd, the contractor appointed to carry out the balance works had completed 39 days ahead of schedule. The appointment of new contractors to rectify the defects saw costs balloon from an initial RM167 million to RM287.51 million, with about RM64.8 million spent on repairs.

The building was finally completed by RotolAMSBumi Technologies Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pembinaan Anggerik Sdn Bhd together with NSC Mekanikal Fastcoll Corporation Sdn Bhd.

Believe it? The repair works costs $64 million and the outstanding works cost $56 million? The contractor must have made a fortune! Anyway, it was better than the previous contractor who had wallop $200 million and abandoned the project. The hardest to swallow is that the previous contractor, Perangsang International Sdn Bhd (PISB), is owned by the Selangor Govt.

PISB was a subsidiary company of Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB), an investment company of the Selangor government.

The Works Ministry plans to bring former board members of Perangsang International Sdn Bhd (PISB) to court for the nine-year delay in completing the Matrade building.

Samy Vellu said he had personally investigated the company and its directors and all evidence gathered would be produced in the event of a court hearing.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said although the company was now defunct, the ministry would not remain silent. “Although the company no longer exists, we will go to the court and take action against the directors,” Samy Vellu said. “They cannot just run away and not take responsibility,” he said, adding that construction costs went up by 70% due to the delay.

Work on the building in Jalan Duta began in 1994 and was targeted for completion in 1997. Due to several delays and the appointment of a new contractor, the original cost of RM167mil ballooned to RM287.5mil, with RM64.8mil spent on repairs.

The original contract to PISB was terminated last March and the company ordered to pay late delivery charges of RM41,750 a day for 2,276 days.

In 2004, the shares of PISB were sold to Tajuk Modal Sdn Bhd. In July, K. Hartanah announced that the group was selling Perangsang to a company called Tajuk Modal Sdn Bhd for RM2. Perangsang had net liabilities of RM7.6mil at the end of last year.

The directors of Tajuk Modal are Chong Sang and Yap Fook Sang.

K. Hartanah said it was selling Perangsang as it was in line with the group's scheme of reconstruction, which is to divest non-core businesses, and to streamline, regroup and concentrate on its property development activities.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz expressed regret that her ministry had to bear heavy losses as a result of the delay.

"Matrade, apart from having to rent elsewhere, also lost out in terms of opportunity cost. Total rental earnings forgone from the building’s exhibition space was an estimated RM120mil, the equivalent of building another 24-storey building," she added.

As a client, Rafidah said, she was disappointed and wanted the Works Ministry to not only take action against the former PISB directors but also look into the probability of any irregularities during the tender process. While waiting for its new building, Matrade rented premises at Wisma Sime Darby and also a small exhibition hall at Wisma PKNS in Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur.

Matrade staff members are expected to move into the new office beginning in July.

Read the earlier article: Matrade RM167 Million Damages

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