Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DRB wins $425 million settlement

All the time, whenever there is a claim which the government disputed, the superintendent officer and the project team representing the government, stood on hard ground.

The government represented by the superintendent officer were prepared to go to court or arbitration to remedy.

But each time, when it was to be up for hearing, the government, advised by the attorney general office, would back off and sought out of court settlement; they call it compromise. In reality, they knew they would lose, because they didn't have enough supporting documents and evidence to back up their contention; impliedly, it was an admission of wrong and admission of a breach of contract.

It's no different this time.

DRB claimed variation order works for a balooned up sum of $900 million. They got $425 million bonus; courtesy of the government.

At first the S.O. stood firm to deny the claims as frivolous and vexatious. When the time to be present at the court of arbitration, they back out and sought refuge behind a compromised solution.

Why were they prepared to pay now, and such a hefty sum?

Is it the Syed Mokhtar factor?

DRB-HICOM is now in further talks with the Government on liquidated ascertained damages and the release of performance bond. It said is hopeful and positive that this matter will also be resolved soon.

DRB-HICOM Bhd, announced yesterday that the Government has finally agreed to pay RM425 million for additional works done on the Rawang-Ipoh electrified double-tracking rail project. The settlement is for the payment of variation order and loss and expense claims for the extra works, it told Bursa Malaysia Bhd yesterday.

The Rawang-Ipoh track forms part of the national railway firm Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd's RM14 billion project to lay parallel lines from Padang Besar to Johor Baru. DRB-HICOM, which is now controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, began work on the RM2.6 billion rail project in mid-2000 and was at first given until the end of 2002 to complete the stretch. The deadline was later extended to December 2004. The group was reported to have completed about 88 per cent of the 179km stretch. In June, the Government terminated the contract with DRB and appointed UEM Builders Bhd, one of the sub-contractors of the project, to complete the unfinished portion of the project.

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