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Worried MRT2 workers appeal to PM via video

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KUALA LUMPUR — A group of MMC-Gamuda workers for the MRT2 project expressed their disappointment and anxiety over Putrajaya’s decision to reopen tender for an underground section of the project.

In a video uploaded on Facebook, Gamuda Bhd assistant manager (Tunnel) Derek Eng said they were not disputing the government’s decision but merely sharing their concerns.

“We would like to thank our Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the MRT Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) line 2 project, but last Sunday the underground SSP project was terminated suddenly. We are rumoured to be losing our jobs soon,” he said.

“We believe Tun is wise, fair and capable of solving the people’s problems,” Eng added.

“I swear that most skilled workers now comprise youths from the village and who have no chance to set foot in the city if they are not on the MRT project,” he further said.

He emphasised that the MRT2 underground and drilling work was a high-tech undertaking, in line with Dr Mahathir’s justification of technology transfer when pushing for a third national car.

“Underground works are handled by 90 per cent of local talent, most of whom are willing to earn lower wages as compared to their chances of working in similar projects in Singapore,” he said.

On behalf of the group, he urged the prime minister to consider the project as a strategic investment in the future because “its impact will be much higher than what the government can now save”.

“We, as MMC-Gamuda workers, hope that Tun will take this into consideration,” he said.

The video ended with a shout of “We love Tun!”

There is also an online petition initiated on Change.org to discourage the termination of the project for the welfare of the 20,000-odd workers they claimed would be affected. So far, it has received close to 30,000 signatures.

Commenting on the petition, the finance minister’s political secretary Tony Pua said: “It might be more productive to start a petition to ask your bosses at MMC-Gamuda to make the Malaysian government an offer it cannot refuse.”

In a separate open letter to Dr Mahathir, project engineer Justin Chin said he and his colleagues were worried about losing their jobs.

“Sunday evening alone, after the news broke, I received over 30 calls and messages from my colleagues and comrades and over 30 more on Monday.

“All of the conversations differed from the others but the underlying messages were the same,” said Chin.

He similarly defended the project as in line with the PM’s ambitions to make Malaysia a developed nation.

Gamuda Bhd’s share price closed at RM2.07, down 31 sen, while MMC Corp Bhd shares lost four sen to close at RM1.12 on Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

In a statement, MMC-Gamuda said it hopes to be invited back to the negotiating table after Dr Mahathir said the cancellation of its MRT2 underground contract will be reviewed.

It said it was committed to further discussions and cooperation with the Finance Ministry to reach an agreeable reduction of cost.

“We shall adopt an open book approach with the appointment of an international engineering consulting firm that possesses the necessary experience and track record in assessing tunnelling works around the world,” it said.