A Gamuda-MMC joint venture will be the project development partner (PDP) for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on 18 December.

The MYR 36bn (USD 11.5bn) MRT project will build a 150km rail network in the capital city and the surrounding area. The government expects construction to start in summer 2011 for the first line, which will run roughly 50km, mostly underground, from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, with 35 stations.

Gamuda and MMC, both Malaysia-based engineering and construction companies, have experience on major tunnelling in the region, including the SMART (Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel) and the Kaohsiung MRT System in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. For that reason they will be allowed to compete for the MRT’s tunnelling works, estimated at MYR 14bn, but none of the other contracts that will be tendered.

Local analysts suggest this exception, highlighted by Razak in his announcement, gives Gamuda-MMCM an edge over other bidders. Work packages are expected in the first half of 2011 for construction to start in July.