Double-tracking contractor gets nod to challenge termination

Wee Ka Siong announced that the KVDT2 rehabilitation project contract would be terminated and converted to an open tender.

KUALA LUMPUR: The contractor for the Klang Valley Double Tracking, Phase 2 (KVDT2) has been allowed to challenge the Perikatan Nasional government’s decision to terminate their contract to manage the double tracking line.

Lawyer Lim Chee Wee, representing Dhaya Maju-LTAT Sdn Bhd said High Court judge Noorin Badaruddin has granted leave for their judicial review application.

“She (Noorin) also allowed a stay on the government’s decision to call for a public tender pending the disposal of our judicial review,” he said.

The company is seeking a court declaration that transport minister Wee Ka Siong’s decision to cancel their KVDT2 contract, as well as to reopen the tender, are null and void.

Dhaya Maju-LTAT also wanted the court to quash the decision and to compel the government to execute all documents and agreements.

Earlier today, Lim told the court that the judicial review concerns matters related to misfeasance in public office, and that aggrieved parties have the right to challenge it.

“The misfeasance by the minister (Wee) is in the context of his decision making in relation to the impugned decision. (It is also about) his failure to consider numerous factors as well as his unreasonable reliance on the Opus report,” he said, referring to a professional project review by consulting company Opus Consultants.

Meanwhile, senior federal counsel Ahmad Hanir Hambaly, appearing for Wee and the government, said that the tort of misfeasance pleaded by Dhaya Maju-LTAT in this contract dispute, is not suitable to be tried via judicial review.

“The (minister’s) decision is clearly a contractual decision provided for under the contract. It does not infuse a public element to warrant it to be amenable to judicial review,” he said.

Besides the legal challenge, Dhaya Maju-LTAT has also filed two lawsuits against the government, claiming that the termination was unlawful.

They alleged that Wee had “ulterior and improper” intention to terminate their contract, and the minister purportedly asked them to subcontract the job to a “China company”.

Wee’s purported request was previously brought up by former transport minister Loke Siew Fook in Dewan Rakyat last year.

Last year, Wee had announced that the Cabinet had agreed to convert the KVDT2 rehabilitation project to an open tender and to cancel the directly negotiated contract after it found that the project cost a lot less than the amount previously cited.

KVDT2 was one of the 101 projects, involving a total of RM6.61 billion, which the Perikatan Nasional government said were awarded through direct negotiations under the Pakatan Harapan’s watch.