Infrastructure Update: June 6, 2019

Infrastructure Update | June 6, 2019
Authors: Sunita Kapoor, Jack Myint, and Elizabeth Rickert
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 
July 8-9: 2019 Cambodia Business Mission
 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Suspended Until September

On Tuesday May 21st, Malaysia and Singapore, in a joint statement, announced the suspension of a US$1 billion cross-border rail link between Johor Bahru and Singapore until September 2019. The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) which, upon completion, is expected to ferry approximately 10,000 passengers an hour each way, was to be completed by 2024 but it has been behind schedule due to Malaysia delaying confirmation on its partnership with Singapore. The suspension was requested from the Malaysian side and the two countries have agreed that they will continue to work towards an affordable and sustainable solution. Malaysia will cover the costs of the suspension and will pay Singapore a further sum if they do not proceed with the project by the September deadline.  

Singapore’s transport minister, Khaw Boon Wan, remains confident in the project due to the severe congestion that faces the border. Around 300,000 people cross the border between Singapore and Johor Bahru each day. Thousands of these are students and workers who make daily trips across the border. This is not the first update to a major agreement by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who vowed to scrap “unnecessary” infrastructure projects. Malaysia has also delayed a high-speed rail link connecting Kuala Lumpur with Singapore until 2020 and sought to renegotiate a decades-old water supply accord with Singapore.

Concerned about Debt, Myanmar Lays out Conditions for Approving BRI Projects

On May 30, 2019, Myanmar Ministry of Planning and Finance Permanent Secretary U Tun Tun Naing addressed public concerns of unsustainable debt in Myanmar’s deals with China on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), a key fixture in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). To learn more on this topic, read the Council’s latest analytical update here. Realizing public concerns and drawing from neighboring ASEAN leaders warnings of China’s “debt trap”, U Tun Tun Naing said that the Myanmar Government’s negotiating team insists on three key conditions before signing any agreement on the CMEC. These three conditions are:

1) Myanmar must be allowed to seek financing from international financial institutions to implement projects;

2) Myanmar must be allowed to hold open tender processes to ensure participation and fair competition of international investment in the projects;

3) Any proposed project must be chosen by Myanmar and mutually benefit both nations.
 

In September 2018, the CMEC MOU was signed by Myanmar Minister of Planning and Finance U Soe Win and He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planning agency. Of the 38 projects proposed by China under the CMEC, nine were approved at the 2nd BRI Forum in April 2019. These projects are expected to focus on improving Myanmar’s infrastructure connectivity and building economic zones. The full list of projects is still not available to the public, with the exception of three economic zones in Kachin and Shan States, and the Muse-Mandalay railway project.

Philippines Raises Foreign Participation Cap on Infrastructure Project Bids

The Philippines’ Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has approved a resolution raising the foreign equity requirement for infrastructure projects to 40% from the current 25%. This means that contractors with up to 40% foreign investment can be awarded contracts for the design, construction and repair of public infrastructure projects. According to the Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for General Administration (ODESGA), the resolution intends to increase the foreign equity cap to “ease restrictions on foreign participation in certain investment areas or activities.” The Resolution amends Act No. 9184 of the “Government Procurement Reform Act,” which required partnerships, corporations or joint ventures, engaged in public infrastructure projects to at least have a 75% domestic ownership.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Below are selected ADB-funded projects and procurement notices on the infrastructure space within ASEAN.  We encourage that you regularly visit https://www.adb.org/projects/tenders for complete list of latest tenders, and https://www.adb.org/projects for complete list of recently uploaded ADB-funded project.   

Laos: Loan No. 3156-LAO: GMS Tourism Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth Project [TIIGP-LAO-W02a]

Philippines: 52083-PHI: Malolos-Clark Railway Project [PB19-156-2, Package CP S-01]

Philippines: 52083-PHI: Malolos-Clark Railway Project [Packages CP N-04 and CP N-05]
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Cambodia
Cambodia projects to benefit from improved infrastructure
Thailand and Cambodia reopen rail and sea links as ties blossom

Indonesia
Air transportation use drops 30 percent over holiday: Official
President pledges to construct 13 more dams in NTT: Deputy Governor
Jokowi inaugurates largest dam on NTT-Timor Leste border
Rotiklot Dam to be followed by irrigation system : Minister
Batam seeks to revive shipyard industry
Police to apply odd-even system on Trans Sumatra toll road
Indonesia sets eyes on East Kalimantan for new capital

Malaysia
Malaysia and Singapore to suspend cross-border rail project 
Rising confidence in govt initiatives?
Kg Baru redevelopment: Settlement to boast high-rise dwellings
Dr M: Govt will conduct six-month study on RTS viability
PetDag Q1 net profit rises 33.28 pct to RM291.19 mil
UEM Edgenta appoints Azmil Khalili as chairman
Fitch Solutions Forecasts Trivial Contribution Of Infrastructure Projects To Malaysia
KL drafting stiffer penalties for pollution offences

Myanmar
Gov’t Spells Out Conditions for Signing BRI Deals with China
Yangon, Mandalay vie for best-city status
Myanmar to implement sky train project in Yangon, calls public cooperation
Initial technical report on Muse-Mandalay railway project submitted
Investment opportunities available in Chin State power, transportation sectors: chief minister
Bago opens UN-backed, UK-funded road
First Shanghai-Yangon direct flight to open in July
Emerging dynamics of the China-Myanmar economic corridor
Feasibility study on Mandalay-Muse railway in process
Govt still keen to build international airport in Bago

Philippines
Tugade says emergency powers up to senators
MIAA remits P3.4B to national government | BusinessWorld
DOTR open to reviving emergency powers bid to address traffic crisis
DOTr, LRTA panel will probe collision of two LRT 2 trains
Invitations issued to bid for last rail deals in Malolos-Clark line | BusinessWorld
40% foreign-owned builders are now eligible for infrastructure projects | BusinessWorld
Despite rains, dam water levels still below normal

Singapore
New MRT line for northeast S’pore will benefit underserved areas: Analysts
What Singapore got right in urban mobility
The Future is Underground
Singapore transport has an electric future with a hybrid twist
New stations, line extensions planned for Singapore’s rail network

Thailand
Cabinet backs high-speed rail draft
EEC Office reworking Map Ta Phut returns
Sarawut handed the reins to new Rail Department
Ayutthaya City Park set for Mice growth
Govt rushes to ink EEC deals
11 small parties pledge allegiance to Prayut, PPRP

Vietnam
Inexperienced Chinese contractor responsible for Hanoi metro delays
Government prioritises capable contractors: Deputy PM
Vietnam metro projects costs overrun by $3.5 billion
Vietnam approves plans to accommodate construction of Long Thanh Airport  | Air Cargo World
Property market must shift towards low-cost housing: Construction Ministry
Việt Nam’s road sector forecast to grow 7.2% in 2019
Transport Ministry’s Party committee confirmed to have committed serious violations
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Cambodia

Cambodia projects to benefit from improved infrastructure EdgeProp 21st May 2019
In recent years, Cambodia’s economy has been recording consistent growth of around 7% per annum, according to data from the World Bank. This is expected to continue based on recent estimates from the National Bank of Cambodia that placed 2019 growth at approximately 7%. On the back of economic growth, the nation is seeing a trend of increased urbanisation due to higher adult literacy rate and an increase in minimum wage. The adult literacy rate in the country was at 82.5% in 2017, based on the Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey 2017 released in November 2018. Meanwhile, wages increased 7% in 2018, according to the World Bank. Against this backdrop, CBRE Cambodia anticipates a diversification of property development in the country, with branded hotels, hospitals and education leading this charge. Across all realty sectors, supply is growing.

Thailand and Cambodia reopen rail and sea links as ties blossom Nikkei Asian Review 1st May 2019
Thailand and Cambodia have ramped up efforts to bolster diplomatic and economic ties with the aim of doubling bilateral trade by 2020. The neighbors revived a crossborder train link on April 22 after it laid unused for 45 years. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen took a ceremonial ride across the border from Aranyaprathet in eastern Thailand to the Cambodian city of Poipet on a train donated by Bangkok.

Indonesia

Air transportation use drops 30 percent over holiday: Official The Jakarta Post 3rd Jun 2019
The Transportation Ministry has recorded a 30 percent decrease in air travelers during this year’s Idul Fitri exodus from last year. The ministry’s executive head of the National Idul Fitri Transportation Command, Sigit Irfansyah, said the data was based on the ministry’s calculation of air travelers from May 29 to June 3 at 36 airports across the country. The ministry also recorded a decline in the number of flights operated by airlines from 13,921, last year to 9,733 this year.

President pledges to construct 13 more dams in NTT: Deputy Governor Antara News 24th May 2019
Deputy Governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Josef Nae Soi echoed President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi's) promise to build 13 additional dams in NTT to take the total to 20 in the area. "During his recent visit to NTT, I had the opportunity to converse with the president over increasing the number of dams in the area, and he had made assurance that in the next five years, more dams would be built to reach the total figure of 20," he remarked in Kupang on Friday.

Jokowi inaugurates largest dam on NTT-Timor Leste border The Jakarta Post 20th May 2019
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo inaugurated on Monday the largest dam located along the border of Indonesia and Timor Leste, Rotiklot Dam. It is also one of seven dams being built by the government in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). “I have said before that there is no way to create prosperity in NTT without water. There is only one key [for prosperity] here, which is water,” Jokowi said during the inauguration ceremony in Belu regency.

Rotiklot Dam to be followed by irrigation system : Minister Antara News 20th May 2019
The inauguration of the Rotiklot Dam in Belu District, East Nusa Tenggara Province, is to be followed by construction of an irrigation system, according to Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono. "Construction of the dam would be followed by development of an irrigation system. Hence, the dam, which took a lot of funds to build, is to benefit the public. We can assure the public that water (from the dam) will irrigate farmers' lands," Hadimuljono said on Monday.

Batam seeks to revive shipyard industry Antara News 20th May 2019
The Mayor of Batam in the Riau Islands, Muhammad Rudi, wants to revive the shipyard industry, which once was known as the finest shipyard throughout Asia Pacific. Muhammad Rudi said here on Monday that efforts to revive the shipyard industry would include development of its infrastructure, along with assistance from the many industrial concerns in Sagulung. "We will begin operating the shipyard again, and will rebuild the road going to the industrial area," said the mayor.

Police to apply odd-even system on Trans Sumatra toll road Antara News 18th May 2019
The Lampung Regional Police (Polda) has planned to apply an odd-even traffic rationing system on the Trans Sumatra Toll Road to reduce vehicular volumes in the homecoming and reverse flow during Eid Al Fitr 2019. "The plan is that an odd-even system will come into effect in the event of a breach in the number of vehicles," Lampung Police Public Relations Head Adjunct Senior Commissioner Zahwani Pandra Arsyad remarked in Bandarlampung, Saturday.

Indonesia sets eyes on East Kalimantan for new capital The Jakarta Post 17th May 2019
Following the trips of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to Kalimantan in his quest to find a new capital city, the government has inclined to pick Bukit Soeharto in East Kalimantan, which is seen as a more favorable option. With an international airport and a seaport, the province is more promising than Central Kalimantan, which is consisted of vast fire-prone peat forests.

Malaysia

Malaysia and Singapore to suspend cross-border rail project  Financial Times 21st May 2019
Malaysia and Singapore will suspend the construction of a $1bn cross-border rail link, the latest in a string of revisions to infrastructure projects as Kuala Lumpur seeks to rein in costs of deals negotiated under the previous government.  In a joint statement, ministers from both countries said the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System project linking the city state with the Malaysian city just across the border would be suspended until September 2019 “at Malaysia’s request and in the spirit of bilateral cooperation”. The project had an estimated price tag of around $1bn. 

Rising confidence in govt initiatives? New Straits Times 30th May 2019
Is the current poor market sentiment a domino effect from the various cooling measures implemented by the previous government to curb speculation and runaway inflation on property prices? Among the measures implemented since 2010 were interest rate hikes, abolishment of Developer Interest Bearing Scheme (DIBS), raising the Real Property Price Index, raising the minimum property purchase price for foreign investors from RM500,000 to RM1 million, and introducing the maximum 70 per cent Loan-To-Value for third residential mortgage loan onwards. Market consultants said these measures, especially the removal of DIBS and interest rate hikes, had caused a knee-jerk reaction and the market to go downhill.

Kg Baru redevelopment: Settlement to boast high-rise dwellings New Straits Times 30th May 2019
The new redevelopment plan for Kampung Baru (Kg Baru) in Kuala Lumpur will have 83 million sq ft of residential and commercial floor space, says Kampung Baru Development Corp (KBDC) chief executive officer Zulkurnain Hassan. He said 70 per cent of the floor space would comprise residential dwellings and 30 per cent would be iconic corporate towers and retail complexes. Zulkurnain said Kg Baru would no longer have landed houses, except for a few “kampung” houses which would be duplicated in a public area in order to preserve the history of the 120-year-old settlement.

Dr M: Govt will conduct six-month study on RTS viability The Star Online 30th May 2019
The Government will conduct a six-month study on the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) project to determine whether it would be beneficial to the country, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. "The previous government entered into some kind of agreement on several projects in Malaysia. "We felt that the contracts were overpriced and there was some evidence of corruption and we decided long before we became the government to do away with the projects. "However, doing away with the projects or cancelling them would involve very high compensation," he said at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday (May 30).

PetDag Q1 net profit rises 33.28 pct to RM291.19 mil New Straits Times 28th May 2019
Petronas Dagangan Bhd’s (PetDag) net profit rose 33.28 per cent to RM291.19 million in the first-quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2019, from RM218.48 million a year ago. In an exchange filing today, PetDag attributed it a three per cent sales volume growth and higher gross profit following the increase in Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS) prices. Its revenue increased 0.14 per cent to RM7.08 billion from RM7.07 billion a year ago on higher contribution from retail and commercial segments as well as sales volume. Managing director and chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin said PetDag’s investments had grown with positive returns especially in the retail and commercial businesses

UEM Edgenta appoints Azmil Khalili as chairman New Straits Times 28th May 2019
Asset management and infrastructure solutions company, UEM Edgenta Bhd, has appointed Tan Sri Dr Azmil Khalili Khalid as its board chairman, effective May 24, 2019. In a statement today, UEM Edgenta said Azmil Khalili took over from Amir Hamzah Azizan who retired as chairman at UEM Edgenta’s annual general meeting on May 15. “Azmil Khalili’s substantial corporate experience in various industries and sectors will provide UEM Edgenta a boost to the company’s next phase of growth. “On behalf of the company, I would also like to thank Amir Hamzah for his leadership and contributions during his tenure as our chairman and wish him much success in the future,” said managing director/chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Azmir Merican.

Malaysia, Singapore suspend RTS Link project until Sept 30 NST Online 21st May 2019
Malaysia and Singapore have signed a supplemental agreement (SA) for the suspension of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) link project until Sept 30. Transport Minister Anthony Loke said Malaysia would reimburse Singapore about RM2 million by July 31 as abortive costs incurred as a result of the six-month suspension. Loke and his Singapore counterpart Khaw Boon Wan sealed the agreement to formalise the suspension at the Singaporean Transport Ministry.

Education system – moving backwards in New Malaysia Malaysiakini 21st May 2019
Our Education Minister Maszlee Malik responded to a question about possibility of loosening quota for matriculation student by saying that "If we want to change, if we say in 'Malaysia Baru' there is no need for a quota system and so on, then we must also make sure job opportunities are not denied to bumiputera just because they don't know Mandarin.” Quota system or meritocracy?

Fitch Solutions Forecasts Trivial Contribution Of Infrastructure Projects To Malaysia Business Times 21st May 2019
As with other analytics agencies, Fitch Solutions Macro Research retained its 4.2 percent forecast of the Malaysian economy's 2019 economic growth. Researchers said not even this year's construction drive will have a significant impact on the local economy. Based on the latest data obtained by Fitch Solutions, the research team predicted that construction projects this year will have a "positive impact" on the economy but it won't be enough to shoulder Malaysia's economic growth. "The positive impact of construction projects resuming or commencing in 2019 will see little feed-through over the remainder of the year," the study revealed.

Malaysia base metals firms plan new group in drive to quell scrap... U.S. 20th May 2019
Malaysia’s non-ferrous metals players are joining forces to promote their scrap processing business as clean amid growing environmental alarm over recycling, seeking to cling on to a trade that has grown fast as China’s import curbs divert more scrap toward Southeast Asia.

KL drafting stiffer penalties for pollution offences The Straits Times 20th May 2019
Stiffer penalties of up to RM5 million (S$1.65 million) in fines will be imposed for environmental offences under a new Act that is currently being drafted. A trust fund is also being set up to reward whistle-blowers and for effective enforcement.These moves come in the wake of the recent toxic waste dumping into Johor's Sungai Kim Kim, which at its peak sent more than 4,000 people to hospitals in Pasir Gudang.

Myanmar

Gov’t Spells Out Conditions for Signing BRI Deals with China The Irrawaddy 30th May 2019
A senior Myanmar official revealed that the government has drawn up a set of conditions for signing memorandums of understanding (MOUs) related to Beijing’s grand infrastructure projects in the country in order to avoid falling into a “debt trap” with China and to ensure the projects benefit both countries. The conditions include acquiring international financing and opening the tender process to non-Chinese companies. It is the first time a government official has spoken about this issue since September, when Myanmar signed an MOU with China agreeing to establish the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Yangon, Mandalay vie for best-city status The Myanmar Times 4th Jun 2019
Shwedagon Pagoda may take the spotlight in advertising campaigns, but Mandalay has King Mindon’s Palace, the U Bein Bridge and the popular holiday destination Pyin Oo Lwin is just a few hours away. Then again Yangon’s population supports more shopping centers, despite having poorer roads and dirtier streets than its northern counterpart. Tourism, shopping and sanitation aside, debates about cultural differences between the two cities date way back before the days of Facebook and Instant Messenger.  Arguments about literary styles and language have been featured in magazines and newspapers in days gone by.

Myanmar to implement sky train project in Yangon, calls public cooperation - Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinhua 3rd Jun 2019
Myanmar's Yangon regional government is planning to implement a sky train project in Yangon, calling on public cooperation to ensure the accomplishment in a legal format, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications Monday. The project, called the Yangon Urban Mass Rapid Transit, was on Sunday made public in Hlaingthaya township, an area with a large nomadic population with high density. As the first phase connecting the eastern and western parts of Yangon, the 18-km-long sky train project will start from Hlaingthaya Station along the Yangon-Pathein road, cross over Hlaing River, run along the north of Bayinnaung Bridge and stop at Parami Station.

Initial technical report on Muse-Mandalay railway project submitted The Myanmar Times 30th May 2019
China Railway Eryuan Engineering Co (CREEC) submitted the report, which is based on a ground survey along Muse-Mandalay highway road and which includes results from a soil analysis test as well as suggested routes, said U Htaung Shan Khan, general manager of Administration and Planning for Myanma Railways. China-backed CREEC conducted ground survey works in the last week of December, 2018. The technical report was carried out during the first four months of the year. Officials of CREEC and Myanma Railways inspected the ground along proposed routes for the Muse-Mandalay railway project. They also held public meetings with the authorities, residents and township’s elders of Kyaukme, Lashio and Muse, where the railway might pass through. However, the report will be complete only when an environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment and the project’s commercial and financial viability are conducted. 

Investment opportunities available in Chin State power, transportation sectors: chief minister The Myanmar Times 24th May 2019
Owing to its difficult and mountainous terrain, Chin State is one of the poorest states in Myanmar with the least investment. Yet, it is also the most scenic In Chin, the most successful sectors are hotels and tourism because of the scenery and attractions such as Nat Ma Taung National Park, Reeds Lake and Kanpatlat township, which is home to the famed Mount Victoria. “Chin State is also a very peaceful state. Chin people even take delight in offering visitors the food they have. They are a very united people and enjoy their traditional dances. Local as well as foreign businesses are invited to invest in any sector they desire in Chin State. As there are currently not many investments there yet, it’s a good time for investors to gain the first mover advantage in Chin,” Salai Lian Luai told The Myanmar Times during an exclusive interview in Mandalay, where he visited this week. There are many infrastructure requirements. The hilly terrain is very suitable for hydropower projects. Big companies are coming to do it. I invite both local and foreign investors to come and carry out field studies and invest. So far, we have found 27 places in which 30-megawatt projects can be carried out. There are also several locations on the Manipur River where 300-megawatt and 600-megawatt hydropower projects are feasible. A total of ten companies from India, Norway, China, the Netherlands and Japan have already conduced feasibility studies and we have signed six MOUs with the likes of the Union Government, Power China Company, Norway Power Company and other local companies.

1,300 Villages to Receive Solar-Generated Electricity in FY2019-20 The Irrawaddy 24th May 2019
Over 1,300 villages in rural areas of five regions will get access to electricity through solar power in fiscal 2019-20 as part of the National Electrification Project (NEP), according to the Ministry of Electricity and Energy. The ministry will team up with the Rural Development Department overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation to supply solar power, according to the deputy permanent secretary of the Electricity and Energy Ministry, U Htay Aung. He said fees collected from villagers will cover 20 percent of the cost, with the government financing the rest from the proceeds of solar-power generation.

Bago opens UN-backed, UK-funded road The Myanmar Times 22nd May 2019
The concrete road - which costs K172,880,000 - connects Kawa township and Kha May Gyi village tract and is part of the Kawa-Tha Pyu road. It is expected to benefit more than 20,000 people from 12 villages with improved access to health, education and work because of the connection to the Yangon-Bago main road. More than 250 female garment factory workers commute daily to factories in Bago by this road. The inauguration ceremony, held in Kawa township on May 21, was attended among others by Bago Region Chief Minister U Win Thein, regional finance minister U Nyunt Shwe, British Ambassador Dan Chugg, and UNDP Myanmar Resident Representative Peter Batchelor. U Win Thein said: “The concrete road project is an example of good democratic practice. Bago Region Government would like to extend such kind of practice to the remaining townships of the region in collaboration with UNDP and UK Aid”.

First Shanghai-Yangon direct flight to open in July SHINE 22nd May 2019
Shanghai-based airlines are competing with each other to open direct flights to popular destinations in Southeast Asia to cap the rising travel demands. Shanghai-based airlines are competing with each other to open direct flights to popular destinations in Southeast Asia to cap the rising travel demands amid the Belt and Road Initiative. Spring Airlines announced on Tuesday to open the first direct flight between Shanghai and Yangon in Myanmar from July 1. The budget carrier will operate four flights weekly that take five hours in a one-way journey, half of the time taken by existing transfer flights. China Eastern will also open a direct link between Shanghai and Rangoon around July with three return flights every week.

Emerging dynamics of the China-Myanmar economic corridor ORF 15th May 2019
At the second Chinese Belt and Road Forum (BRF) attended by Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in April 2019, three MoUs were signed to strengthen cooperation on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) integral to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This was the latest in a series of MoUs reached between China and Myanmar on the CMEC in recent years. Myanmar’s increasing dependence on China in dealing with internal and external challenges and Beijing’s ability to leverage Naypyidaw’s strategic compulsions to its advantage has been a defining featuring of the current bilateral relationship. China has been extending political and financial support to the Myanmar government in managing the country’s ethnic conflicts along their shared borderlands and protecting it at the United Nations for atrocities against the Rohingyas.

Feasibility study on Mandalay-Muse railway in process The Myanmar Times 15th May 2019
A feasibility study for a proposed US$9 billion railway linking Mandalay to Muse is being conducted, said U Ba Myint, managing director of Myanma Railways, which comes under the Ministry of Transport and Communications. “We estimate that it [the railway project] will cost about US$8.9billion,” he said at a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw on May 13. A Memorandum of Understanding to study the feasibility of the project was signed between Myanma Railways and China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group in October last year. The railway, which is expected to be a single line, will be 421 kilometers long. Trains will run at the speed of 160 km per hour, resulting in total travel time of 3 hours from Mandalay to Muse.

Govt still keen to build international airport in Bago The Myanmar Times 15th May 2019
“As Hantharwaddy is an essential airport, we’ve been trying hard to get construction started. We are seeking help from Japan to manage the construction of aircraft runways,” U Win Khant said during a press conference detailing the government’s performance in its third year in power, on May 13. U Aung Ye Tun, assistant permanent secretary of the same ministry, said negotiations with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism are ongoing. A tender for the construction of the US$1.5 billion airport was first launched in 2012. The project was awarded to a consortium comprising Japan’s JGC Corporation, Singapore-listed Yongnam Holdings and Singapore’s Changi Airports International. 

Philippines

Tugade says emergency powers up to senators MSN 3rd Jun 2019
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will leave it up to the new batch of senators whether or not to grant President Duterte emergency powers to solve the traffic congestion in Metro Manila, an official said yesterday... The DOTr had asked Congress to grant the Duterte administration emergency powers for three years to address the traffic problem.

MIAA remits P3.4B to national government | BusinessWorld Business World 22nd May 2019
THE Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said it remitted P3.42 billion in dividends to the national government in 2018, fueled by the higher number of flights, passengers and additional concessions it had last year. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) operator’s remittance was 52% higher than the P2.25 billion remitted to the government in 2017. Aside from the increase in volume of passengers and flights, MIAA Assistant General Manager Arlene Britanico attributed the higher remittance to stricter implementation of the point-of-sale system, rolling out variable parking rates and opening new parking spaces.

DOTR open to reviving emergency powers bid to address traffic crisis Inquirer.net 21st May 2019
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is open to reviving a shelved program to declare a traffic crisis in Metro Manila and seek so-called emergency powers from Congress after President Duterte’s allies consolidated their power after last week’s midterm polls.

DOTr, LRTA panel will probe collision of two LRT 2 trains BusinessMirror 20th May 2019
THE Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will create a fact-finding committee to determine the cause of the collision of two trtains at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 on Saturday evening. Reynaldo Berroya, the administrator of the railway regulator, said the committee will help shed light as to how a parked train in the pocket track of Anonas Station slid into the eastbound track, causing it to collide with a service train bound for Cubao Station.

Invitations issued to bid for last rail deals in Malolos-Clark line | BusinessWorld Business World 20th May 2019
THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) is seeking bidders for the remaining components of the Malolos-Clark railway, which makes up part of the P777.55-billion North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project. The DoTr posted two invitations to bid in a newspaper Sunday: two contracts to build an underground station and a depot for the Malolos-Clark railway; and one contract to build a station for the train line’s 1.9-kilometer extension to Blumentritt. The auction for the two remaining contracts of the 51.2-kilometer Malolos-Clark railway cover Package CP N-04, or the construction of the railway viaduct, a steel bridge and underground station at the Clark International Airport; and Package CP N-05, or the construction of its depot.

40% foreign-owned builders are now eligible for infrastructure projects | BusinessWorld Business World 20th May 2019
THE Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) has approved a resolution raising the foreign equity requirement for infrastructure projects to 40% from the current 25%. Under Resolution No. 06-2019, the GPPB adopted Executive Order No. 65 S. 2018, which provided that contractors with 40% foreign equity may be awarded contracts for the construction and repair of locally funded public works. The Office of the Deputy Executive Secretary for General Administration (ODESGA) said that the resolution, dated March 8, intends to increase the foreign equity cap to “ease restrictions on foreign participation in certain investment areas or activities.”

Despite rains, dam water levels still below normal BusinessMirror 10th May 2019
WATER levels at La Mesa Dam and Angat Dam remain below normal levels despite a spate of sporadic rains for the past few days. As of 6 a.m. on May 9, the water level at La Mesa is 68.55 meters above sea level (asl).  This is still below its normal level of 78 to 79 meters above sea level. As of the same period, the water level at Angat is 174.78 meters.  The minimum operating water level at Angat is 180 meters.

Singapore

New MRT line for northeast S’pore will benefit underserved areas: Analysts TODAYonline 5th Jun 2019
A new rail line to connect Singapore’s northeast to its south would not only be possible but a step in the right direction, as it would plug gaps in underserved areas and maybe even rekindle talks about a third link to Johor, transport analysts said. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in its Land Transport Master Plan 2040 on Saturday (May 25), that it is studying the feasibility of a new line that could serve residents in Woodlands, Sembawang, Sengkang, Serangoon North, Whampoa, Kallang and the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront development. Speaking to reporters at the launch event, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that the master plan represents the Government's commitment “to deliver the idea of 20-minute towns and 45-minute cities”.

What Singapore got right in urban mobility Singapore Business Review 5th Jun 2019
In Asia, Singapore has one of the most efficient and connected transport systems with a McKinsey study ranking the Lion City as having the world’s second best public transport system, trailing only behind Hong Kong . The city-state seems to be unstoppable in continuing to amp up and simplify connectivity across the island after the Land Transport Plan 2040 unveiled by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). The ambitious scheme eyes to make journeys to take no more than 20 minutes for commuters to get to and from one’s home to the nearest neighbourhood centre and 45 minutes or less to complete peak-period journeys between homes and workplaces.

The Future is Underground NST Online 4th Jun 2019
THE future is underground, and I don’t mean the dead,’ these were the parting words of an old friend, Nik Ramly, a veteran town planner, as he shook my hand before leaving for KLIA. He was in Kedah recently for a brief meeting with his clients in Alor Setar. As his flight home to Kuala Lumpur was late in the evening, I asked him to drop by at my place. I promised to send him to the airport at Kepala Batas in time for his flight. We discussed the latest issues in urban planning, but I was especially interested to know about Singapore’s master plan for its underground development. He said that building underground for Singapore “was not an obsession, but a necessity”. The island state has no choice because its population will soon hit the six million mark, and by 2030 its population may very well peak at seven million. It is doing what Hong Kong had done in the past. Hong Kong has a population of seven million.

Singapore transport has an electric future with a hybrid twist The Hindu 2nd Jun 2019
Singapore is famed both for its car-lite approach that discourages ownership of personal vehicles, and the steady expansion of its public transport system over the past three decades. The city state is now working on the next big technological leap that will potentially lead to the roll-out of driverless, fully autonomous buses in partnership with Volvo Buses. The first trials in this race to autonomy are taking place on the smooth macadam of CETRAN, a comprehensive test centre for autonomous vehicles operated by Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore). Here, a Volvo 7900 series electric bus equipped with light detection and ranging sensors (LIDARS), stereo-vision cameras to capture 3D images, and a global navigation satellite system moves along test ‘roads’ with ‘hands-free’ technology in the driver’s seat. It effortlessly turns at curves, and stops at traffic lights.

New stations, line extensions planned for Singapore’s rail network CNA 25th May 2019
Accessibility to the rail network is set to be further improved with the extension of some lines and the development of new stations. Among the proposals announced on Saturday (May 25) by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in its Land Transport Master Plan 2040 (LTMP 2040) is the addition of two new stations on the North-South Line (NSL). Separately, LTA said it will extend the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), with a station serving the upcoming mega Terminal 5 at Changi Airport. It highlighted that the openings of the new stations will be in tandem with infrastructure developments.

Thailand

Cabinet backs high-speed rail draft Bangkok Post 28th May 2019
The cabinet approved a draft contract for the joint venture to build the high-speed train development project linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports. Nathporn Chatusripitak, a spokesman for Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, said the public-private partnership project between the State Railway of Thailand and the winning consortium led by the Charoen Pokphand Group will be transferred to the government after 50 years.The Budget Bureau is required to set aside 149.65 billion baht for the project. Some 14.96 billion of that will be allocated each year over the 10 years after the rail link begins operating in 2024.

EEC Office reworking Map Ta Phut returns Bangkok Post 23rd May 2019
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office will resubmit the bidding conclusion for the third phase of Map Ta Phut port to the cabinet next Tuesday as it wants to reconsider the return on investment for this megaproject. On Tuesday, the cabinet dismissed a proposal by the EEC Office and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) to reduce the return on investment the bidder pays to the government. The winning bid was from a consortium led by PTT and Gulf Energy Development.

Sarawut handed the reins to new Rail Department Bangkok Post 22nd May 2019
The director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), Sarawut Songsivilai, has been appointed as head of the new Rail Department. He was appointed during the cabinet meeting on Tuesday, according to assistant government spokeswoman Taksada Sangkhachan. His appointment will take effect after the King's endorsement. According to a source at the meeting, his name was put forward by Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

Ayutthaya City Park set for Mice growth Bangkok Post 15th May 2019
Ayutthaya City Park is set to expand the Mice market into five industrial estates in Ayutthaya province with tailor-made package services meant to attract thousands of companies in the area. Somphon Rattchathapimolchai, chief of marketing for Ayutthaya City Park, said services featuring creative ideas such as theme parties, company team-building trips and staff parties will be provided for companies in the estates, which together employ more than 200,000 people.

Govt rushes to ink EEC deals Bangkok Post 13th May 2019
The government is pushing to get at least two contracts relating to the much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project signed by next month, before the new government is sworn in. The EEC scheme consists of five different projects -- the 225-billion-baht high-speed railway linking three major airports, the 290-billion-baht construction of U-Tapao Aviation City, the setting-up of an 11.6-billion-baht maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility, as well as the third phases of the development of the Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut sea ports, which are valued at 84 billion baht and 47.9 billion baht, respectively.

11 small parties pledge allegiance to Prayut, PPRP Bangkok Post 13th May 2019
The 11 parties under the 71,000-vote-per-MP threshold have announced their support for Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister and for the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to form the government. They held a briefing in Bangkok on their joint stand after the Election Commission endorsed one party-list MP each for them using a controversial calculation method challenged by some larger parties. PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana and secretary-general Sontrirat Sontijirawong also attended.

Vietnam

Inexperienced Chinese contractor responsible for Hanoi metro delays VnExpress International 5th Jun 2019
China Railway Sixth Group Co Ltd. has done well in constructing the line, but it lacks experience in putting the line into commercial operation, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The said at a National Assembly session Wednesday. The contractor was appointed by China according to the terms of a loan agreement beween the two countries, he added. The project can only operate after the Chinese contractor finishes the remaining construction and receives safety certificates for the whole system, he said.

Government prioritises capable contractors: Deputy PM vietnamplus.vn 5th Jun 2019
Vietnamese Government prioritises capable and prestigious contractors for the state’s transport projects, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at the National Assembly’s Q&A session on June 5. Although the State has poured a huge amount of capital and mobilised resources to branch out transport infrastructure for bolstering the socio-economy and improving local livelihoods, several projects have fallen short of expectation due to their poor quality, slow progress, and soaring capital allotment.

Vietnam metro projects costs overrun by $3.5 billion VnExpress International 5th Jun 2019
Ho Chi Minh City’s first line from Ben Thanh to Suoi Tien has seen the highest rise of VND29.9 trillion ($1.3 billion), according to a report by the Ministry of Transport to the National Assembly based on data as of March. The second line between Ben Thanh and Tham Luong has become VND21.8 trillion ($932 million) costlier. Hanoi’s second line between Nhon and Hanoi Railway Station is third with VND14.5 trillion ($620 million). Besides, the projects have been delayed due to tardy payment to their foreign contractors, and inflation has seen to the rest, it said.

Vietnam approves plans to accommodate construction of Long Thanh Airport  | Air Cargo World AirCargo World 30th May 2019
Yesterday, the People’s Council of Vietnam’s Dong Nai province approved the adjustment of administrative boundaries within Long Thanh district to enable the construction of the country’s new Long Thanh International Airport. The development comes on the heels of burgeoning exports out of Vietnam as factories shift their production to the country from China. The administrative boundaries of six communes will be adjusted to reallocate some of the land in these communes to serve as the site for the construction of Long Thanh International. The six affected communes within Dong Nai province’s Long Thanh district include Binh Son, Cam Duong, Long An, Long Phuoc, Bau Can and Suoi Trau.  

Property market must shift towards low-cost housing: Construction Ministry vietnamnews.vn 11th May 2019
The Ministry of Construction has proposed reforming administrative procedures to create favourable conditions for the development of low-cost, compact social and commercial housing. This is one of the solutions suggested in the ministry’s latest report, submitted to the National Assembly ahead of its May session starting on May 20. The ministry also asked the Prime Minister and the Standing Committee of the National Assembly to consider adding public investment capital to boost development of social housing. The National Assembly and Government should amend and supplement policies on developing social housing projects for workers, the ministry said.

Việt Nam’s road sector forecast to grow 7.2% in 2019 vietnamnews.vn 14th May 2019
The expansion of Việt Nam’s road network would continue in the next decade in order to support growing freight transport volumes due a projected increase in economic activity, Fitch Group’s Fitch Solutions Macro Research forecast in a report released on Tuesday. In the report on the outlook for Việt Nam’s road infrastructure, Fitch predicted the country’s road and bridges sector to grow by 7.2 per cent, in real terms, in 2019, and at an annual average of 6.7 per cent from 2020 to 2028, driven by a large number of road projects. According to Fitch's key projects database (KPD), there are a total of 137 road projects currently in the planning or construction phases, representing 60 per cent of all pipeline projects.

Transport Ministry’s Party committee confirmed to have committed serious violations vietnamnews.vn 6th May 2019
The Inspection Commission of the Party Central Committee has concluded that the Party delegation to the Transport Ministry had seriously violated the principle of centralised democracy and working regulations. This is part of the outcomes of the commission’s 35th session from April 24-26, which was announced on Sunday. The commission said the Transport Ministry’s Party delegation had shown a lack of responsibility, slackened their leadership and inspection, resulting in many law violations and wrongdoings in the process of equitisation and State capital divestment at several enterprises under the ministry’s management.