#PrayForMRT2: MMC-Gamuda Employees Appeal To Government After Termination Of Contract

Following the backlash, Putrajaya has agreed to discuss the termination of MMC-Gamuda.

Cover image via Malaysiakini

On 7 October, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that MMC-Gamuda has been terminated as the contractor for underground portion of the Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 (MRT2) project

Image via Malaysiakini

Malay Mail reported that the termination was due to the government's commitment to lower the costs of the project through a re-tendering exercise.

According to Malaysiakini, MMC-Gamuda had agreed to reduce the cost of the MRT2 project by RM5.22 billion, or 23% of the original cost for the above ground portion of the project.

However, after the government failed to reach an agreement with MMC-Gamuda in relation to the underground portion of the project, the Cabinet moved on to terminate the contract.

MMC-Gamuda has since claimed that termination of the underground contract will spark immediate job losses

With the project at 39% completion, the company argued that the termination affects over 20,000 staff involved in the underground works of MRT2, from a supply chain of more than 600 Malaysian companies. 

"Of the 20,000, over 3,000 are made up of MMC-Gamuda JV staff, and of this, more than 60% are bumiputera," the company said in its statement on 8 October.

"This will cause unnecessary hardship to a significant number of Malaysian workforce in an already slowing market," MMC-Gamuda added. 

Employees of MMC-Gamuda took to social media to appeal to the government over the termination, and here are a few of their stories:

1. Justin Chin, a civil engineer

"Along side the thousands of Malaysians I have worked with (while) building KL's MRT lines for the past six years, many of us have worked in excess of 80 hours a week and over 300 days a year," Justin wrote in a Facebook post.

He then detailed his encounters with fellow MMC-Gamuda employees, who had expressed to him their worry over losing their jobs.

"A single mother of three, with two of her children in college, called up and asked, 'What will happen to us now?' I didn't know what to say to her," the civil engineer added.

Justin added that he cannot understand how re-tendering the remaining underground works of MRT2 could justify the "abortive costs, idling costs, and compensation" resulting from the termination. 

"Don't crush the hopes, dreams, futures, and livelihood of 20,000 working class Malaysian employees who have toiled to build this nation," he appealed.

2. Ibrahim Iskandar, a shift tunnel engineer

"Along with other personnel, we endured months of working more than 15 hours a day without a single day off to complete the now operational MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line," Ibrahim wrote in his Facebook post.

He added that the real victims of the termination are not the engineers or managers at MMC-Gamuda, but ordinary Malaysians on the tunnelling team for the MRT2 project.

"They have sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears, promised of a better future for themselves but only to be told they are going to lose their jobs," the engineer added.

3. Fatin Syazwani, a civil engineer

"I worked very closely to the MRT2 project since the very beginning... Everyone in the project work very hard to achieve every milestone stated in the contract," Fatin wrote. 

She added that she received the news about the termination at a family gathering. 

"The only thing that crossed my mind today (9 October) is whether someone would hire me with my specialisation now," she lamented.

In light of the backlash, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has agreed to discuss MMC-Gamuda's termination

Mahathir delivering his closing address at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2018 yesterday, 9 October.

Image via Malay Mail

Malay Mail reported that Mahathir recognised the possibility of mass unemployment due to the contract termination. 

"We will have to discuss this," the Prime Minister said to reporters after delivering his closing address at the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2018 yesterday.

Meanwhile, political secretary to the Finance Minister Tony Pua claimed that MMC-Gamuda is painting itself as "an innocent victim":

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