Saturday, February 4, 2012

Malaysia to build the bridge

A senior Malaysia official said on Saturday Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur are all set to sign an agreement on Feb 21 to construct the Padma Bridge by a consortium of Malaysian companies.

"We did a due diligence for the past one month and finally, with the consent of prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, we told the Bangladesh government we are ready to build the bridge," said Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who met the Bangladesh prime minister in Dhaka on Tuesday.

"Bangladesh has seen our success in building bridges such as the first and second Penang Bridge. (Bangladeshi) prime minister Sheikh Hasina requested us to look at the proposed bridge," Samy Vellu, Malaysia's special envoy to India and South Asia, told official Bernama news agency.

He said the deal would put together a consortium of Malaysian construction companies to take up the RM 6.6 billion job.

Samy Vellu said several big names in the Malaysian construction industry as well as those that are known as government-linked companies (GLC) are expected to join the consortium. Their work, he said, would be monitored by the Prime Minister's Department through his office.

"The contractor has brought in a financier from Dubai. Serious negotiations are currently going on between them. The Malaysian and Bangladeshi governments have no say in identifying and deciding on the financier.

"This bridge will be a very important project for Malaysia as it will prove to the world that this country (Malaysia) has the ability to do anything on earth, especially in the infrastructure segment."

He said that a detailed timeline would be decided once the government-to-government agreement was sealed on Feb 21.

Bangladesh's biggest infrastructure project ran into trouble after one of the key lenders, The World Bank, raised questions about the bidding process for consultant supervisors.

The government rejected the Bank allegations, dared the Washington-based lender to prove the charges and threatened to find other sources to fund the ambitious project.