Kazakhstan beckons Malaysian road builders
ASTANA. April 2. KAZINFORM. Kazakhstan has allocated US$10 billion (RM34.5 billion) from 2006 to 2012 to construct tolled highways, and Malaysian contractors are invited to tender for the projects on a build-operate-transfer basis. "We look forward to seeking potential partners to construct tolled-roads in our country. There's a construction boom in our country and unfortunately there are not enough local contractors to take on big projects," said World Construction Company (WCC) managing partner Rifkat Azimov. WCC is one of the major local contractors in Kazakhstan. There are five major roads in Kazakhstan that are scheduled to be upgraded because of congestion. One particular route highlighted by Azimov is a planned 2,200km South-West Highway. It runs through Kazakhstan from Uralsk city in the west to Horgos city in the east. "The construction cost is estimated to be US$2.2 billion (RM7.59 billion) and it is divided into three packages. It will be funded by our government on a build-operate-transfer basis via toll collection," WCC managing partner Zarina Arslanova said. "The first package stretches 1,239km from Korabutok to Shymkent, the second runs 617km from Shymkent to Tashkent and the third is 315km from Almaty to Horgos," she added. Azimov and Arslanova were speaking to Business Times during their four-day visit to Kuala Lumpur to meet with major players in Malaysia's construction industry. Also present at the interview was Master Builders Association of Malaysia president Patrick Wong. Local firms that have had discussions with WCC include WCT Engineering Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, Sunway Group, Crest Builder Holdings Bhd, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd and Prinsiptek Corp Bhd. "Kazakhstan's South-West Highway is about 2.5 times our North-South Expressway. Some of our players are keen, so we'll be reciprocating this visit next month," Wong said, Kazinform quotes Business Times.