Recently, TRANSIT noted an article in the Star newspaper describing the progress of the Seremban-Gemas Electrification & Double Tracking (EDT) project.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the work on the dual-track railway was 32.81% completed and it was expected to be operational by Aug 2012.
“Once completed, the travel time between Malacca and Negri Sembilan will be shortened and new six-coach trains capable of carrying 350 passengers at 140km per hour will be used,” Mohd Ali said after visiting a section of the track in Pulau Sebang, Tampin, recently.
Work on the 98.2km railway by Ircon International Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian Railway, began in January 2008.
The stations in Pulau Sebang and Batang Melaka will be upgraded as part of the project.
Mohd Ali said the state had suggested that the Federal Government extend the railway track to Malacca city in the 10th Malaysia Plan.
Now, it is already surprising enough to note that the project has started in January 2008 even though the public display period only began late last year. So perhaps there is some confusion in this area as the media has been known to get the wrong information about public transport.
And we are interested to note the statement from Mohd. Ali Rustam regarding the proposal to extend the railway into Malacca town – although we wonder how likely that is to happen.
But more importantly: TRANSIT has received a letter outlining allegations of corruption in the Seremban-Gemas EDT project including that:
- The Statement of Needs (requirements outlined) by KTMB for the project have been manipulated;
- The systems & signaling package was given to Westinghouse Malaysia;
- A bribe of RM885,000 was paid to the MD of Ircon India Limited, the main contractor of the project, to secure the package.
Read the excerpts from the letter below:
Recently after many delays and manipulations by Ircon India particularly its MD Mohan Tiwari, the system and signaling package was given to Westinghouse Malaysia.
For your information YAB Dato Seri, the orginal Statements of Needs which IRCON made with the Government of Malaysia was altered and changed to suit Westinghouse. And now its very likely KTMB will not get what it wanted and what the contract with the Government of Malaysia and IRCON was signed.
Apart from this, there was another two able contractors who did the bid for this package.
However with regards to selection of Westinghouse Malaysia, IRCON was totally disregarded all the conditions and terms.
The fact is :-
- Westinghouse Malaysia operates from home
- Westinghouse is managed by just ONE Man
- No other professional staff are employed
- No machinery which is needed for this project is owned by Westinghouse
- No major project was done by Westinghouse
[TRANSIT: Please note that Westinghouse Malaysia is not in any way connected with Westinghouse Rail Systems (part of the Invensys Group) the internationally recognized corporation which has offices in India and Australia but NOT Malaysia!]
Despite of all the above conditions which was part of the tender requirements, yet still Westinghouse was awarded this package.
Word on the ground and in the field, is disappointing as I came to know Westinghouse paid a sum of RM885,000.00 (Indian Rupee 1 Core) to the Managing Director of IRCON International Mohan Tiwari to clinch this award.
The money was paid and Westinghouse India led by one Alok Senna acted as the middle man.
Generally when it comes to public transport we at TRANSIT deal with the external problems – service, infrastructure, planning and quality.
But occasionally we are forced to deal with the other, darker side of public transport and infrastructure – corruption, bribery and dirty dealings.
TRANSIT has passed on the information described in the letter above to our contacts in the Malaysian government and the Commercial Crimes Division of the Royal Malaysian Police.
Unfortunately, we cannot do more at this time. Once we get additional information we will also contact Westinghouse International and get their comments on the allegations.
In the meantime, please take this case as a reminder that nothing is as it seems, especially when it comes to public transport.