Tuesday hearing for suit to reverse termination of Melaka Gateway project

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PETALING JAYA: The hearing of the suit by the developer and promoter of the Melaka Gateway project to reverse the decision of the state government to terminate its contract is scheduled to begin next Tuesday.

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KAJ Development Sdn Bhd (KAJD) has applied for a judicial review of the state government’s action to terminate its three-year reclamation concession.

In its notice of termination dated Nov 16, the state government also sought the immediate return of the three islands reclaimed for the project, which KAJD said came “without the offer of any recourse”.

The Melaka government cited KAJD’s failure to deliver on the conditions of the concession agreement, based on delays by the company in completing the land reclamation within the concession period.

However, KAJD is seeking to annul the notice of termination, saying it would otherwise be in breach of the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 which, among others, bars termination of any construction project suspended or delayed due to Malaysia’s Covid-19 prevention measures.

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“The Covid-19 Act states any construction-related terminations cannot be made until after Dec 31 or any later date as may be approved under the Act passed by Parliament,” the company said in a statement today.

According to KAJD CEO Michelle Ong, work had to be suspended on March 18 because of the imposition of the movement control order.

“We had submitted several written requests to the Melaka government to extend the land reclamation concession but they were either ignored or rejected,” she said.

Ong said that because of limited access to equipment and the inability of their foreign experts to return to Malaysia, the company could not continue reclamation works until after “all relevant Covid-19 restrictions are fully lifted and no one knows when that will be the case”.

“With our lawsuit, we aim to get the necessary time which is to be granted by the Melaka government, so that KAJD can complete the land reclamation works as stipulated in the three-year concession.”

She said the project, if allowed to proceed, would provide huge benefits to the state and national economy, involving 40,000 to 45,000 new jobs and an added RM125 billion to the national gross domestic product. – FMT

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