Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says that those with jobs on the line after the temporary cancellation of the underground portion of the MRT2 project can seek reemployment once the project resumes.
Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur today, Lim also clarified that the overground portion of the project will proceed as planned and hence workers in that sector were unaffected.
"If the project continues, many of these workers can be employed when the contract is awarded... the project continues, hopefully at a cheaper price. (The winning bidder) can also be Gamuda Bhd or another company.
"They (Gamuda) should also have that same opportunity... bear in mind, the above ground (portion) still continues, so you can't say everyone will be dismissed. They will still be needed to complete the above-ground portion," he said.
Yesterday, Gamuda issued a statement claiming that the cancellation of the underground portion of the project would cost 20,000 jobs.
Putrajaya has been renegotiating the MRT2 with project delivery partner (PDP) MMC-Gamuda, a 50-50 joint venture between MMC Corp and Gamuda. The contracts were signed during the Najib Abdul Razak administration.
Under the new deal, the overground portion of the project will now cost RM5.22 billion less, or savings of 23 percent.
However, MMC-Gamuda and Putrajaya could not reach a cost-savings agreement on the underground portion, which is now 40 percent complete.
According to Gamuda, the uncompleted portion was valued at RM9.6 billion, and MMC-Gamuda had offered to reduce the price by 24 percent, but this was not accepted by the federal government.
Asked if the federal government was still open to negotiations with MMC-Gamuda, Lim said anyone can air their views until the fresh tender process is called.
"They made an offer. We found it inadequate. This (exercise) is not for ourselves but for the country. It is an international tender," said Lim.
On whether the project will be completed as scheduled, Lim urged reporters to wait for an official announcement.
In 2015, Putrajaya had budgeted RM23 billion for the project. However, the total cost, prior to the renegotiations, stood at RM56.93 billion.