Source: Malaysiakini

Sime Darby-led consortium gets Bakun dam project

Tony Thien

3:27pm Fri Aug 23rd, 2002

A seven-member consortium led by the Sime Darby Group has received the letter of intent from the government in building the Bakun main dam at a tender price of RM1.788 billion.

The Sime Engineering Sdn Bhd-led consortium, which includes a Chinese partner involved in the US$30 billion Three Gorges dam project on the Yangtze River, is said to have the lowest bid among four short-listed Malaysian-led consortia for the civil and engineering works of the Bakun hydro dam project in central Sarawak region.

The unsuccessful bidders for the construction work on the main dam, spillway, power house and plant complex are Sarawak-based Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd with Swiss-based Alsthom Power Generation, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd with Argentina-based hydro-power specialist Impsa (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Bintai Kiden Corp with US-based GE Hydro.

The Sarawak partner in the winning consortium, Edward & Sons Sdn Bhd chairperson and managing director Stanley Ajang — who is also state assembly person for Belaga — confirmed today that he had received the letter of intent yesterday from Ministry of Finance-incorporated company Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Yong Chee Meng.

The consortium’s Chinese partner is China Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Corporation. Other members are KLSE-listed MTD Capital Bhd and its associate WCT Engineering Bhd, KLSE-listed Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd and Syarikat Ismail Ibrahim Sdn Bhd.

The major equity stakes are held by Sime Engineering, China Water Resources and MTD Capital. Sarawak-based Edward & Sons Sdn Bhd has a four percent stake.

Close ally of Leo Moggie

Ajang, who is also Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) secretary-general, took over Edward & Sons Sdn Bhd from former Iban businessman-politician, the late Edward Jeli, who made his money from supplying contract labour to Sarawak Shell in Miri.

Ajang has moved his company headquarters to Kuching and operates from the new MAA Building in Ban Hock Road. The company's executive director is Joseph Salang, who is PBDS treasurer, the Member of Parliament for Julau and a director of Telekom Malaysia.

Ajang, a Universiti Malaya graduate and comes from the Orang Ulu community, is also involved through his company in some contracts in the resettlement of the native community in Sungai Asap who are affected by the Bakun project.

Both Ajang and Salang are close allies of outgoing PBDS president and Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia Leo Moggie.

Ajang told malaysiakini that he expected groundwork to start as soon as all the formalities have been complied with.

The government has so far spent about RM1 billion, including resettlement of the affected indigenous population, the road from Bintulu to Bakun, the diversion tunnels and the cofferdam.

Cofferdam completed

A spokesman for Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation said today that work on the RM74 million coffer dam has been completed and already handed over by Ting Pek Khiing-controlled Global Upline Sdn Bhd, the contractor, to Sarawak Hydro Sdn Bhd.

The construction of the dam constitutes the largest of three main components of the hydro dam project which is now estimated to cost no more than RM5 billion to produce some 2,400 megawatts of electricity.

The original costing, including an undersea transmission line from Sematan to Peninsular Malaysia, was RM12 billion. One of the bidders had described the postponement of the project following the mid-1997 economic crisis and the taking back of the project from the previous turnkey contractor Ekran Bhd as 'a blessing in disguise'.

A further package, the construction of the electro-mechnical component including the installation and commissioning of the main turbines, is worth between RM380 million and RM580 million.

According to reports, during the initial stage only three units of turbines will be installed with provision for the rest to be fitted at a later stage to bring supply to the 2,400MW capacity.

The last and final package will be the power transmissions which include overhead lines covering both Sarawak and Sabah.

CM’s family business interests lose out

News of the award of the main dam contract to the Sime Darby-led group has greatly disappointed the Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMSB) group, which is linked to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud's family business interests.

In recent local newspaper reports, CMSB in association with KLSE-listed Gamuda Bhd, South Korea's Hyundai Engineering and Alstom Power Generation, had expressed confidence of being awarded the contract.

CMBS set up a RM160-million cement plant in Bintulu in anticipation of being able to cash in directly or indirectly into the Bakun project. Presently, the plant is operating well below capacity.

Ajang told malaysiakini that his consortium has been given the green light to start preliminary work such as preparing the performance bond and recruiting workers prior to the signing of the main contract agreement.

The Bakun hydro dam which will supply electricity not only to Sarawak but also Sabah and possibly West Kalimantan, Indonesia is expected to be fully completed by 2006.