2017 IOM3(HK) Annual Overseas Technical Visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hong Kong Branch
20 Feb 2018

By Dr Tek Kei Sun, Ms Melody Deng and Mr James Yiu

The Hong Kong Branch of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, IOM3(HK), successfully organised an overseas trip to regarding “Technical Visit to Kuala Lumper”, which was a six days trip from 29th September 2017 to 4th October 2017 consisting of technical site visit, factory, workshops, forums and conferences. In total, 16 participants including the Branch President, Mr Andy Raine, and the Branch Honorary Treasurer, Mr Tim Leung, led the visit. The delegation group consisted of a spectrum of specialize from the industry, including tunnel experts, forensic materials expert, engineers, geologists, material and inventory supplier and academics. 


Day 1 - Flight to Kuala Lumpur
On day one, we took an afternoon flight from Hong Kong Chep Lap Kok International Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and get ready for the technical visit on the day after. 

The participants at the Hong Kong International Airport before departure


Day 2 - Full day technical visit to MRT
A full day technical visit regarding the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line (SSP line) hosted by the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT) consisted of a morning and an afternoon sections. In the morning section, after arrived to the MRT head office, a welcoming speech and presentation were given by Director Underground Work of SSP Line, Mr Blaise Pearce. Mr Pearce gave a detailed overview on the current construction status of the new SSP line. The SSP line was crossing the central part of Kuala Lumpur, adjacent to the SSP significant amount of sensitive receivers were accoutered, including the hospital, temple, high-rises, air-force base, existing tunnels etc. Both underground and elevated track lines were employed to overcome the complexities in both geological conditions and construction difficulties. The alignment of the new subway line (line 2) goes through KL’s highly karstified region and some of the most populated area; through the visit our participants learnt not only the tunnelling technique in karstic land but also their contract arrangement and public engagement methods that tackles with the construction challenges and complicated interfaces with local stakeholders.

Mr Andy Raine (R), President of IOM3(HK), presenting souvenir to Mr Blaise Pearce (L), Director Underground Work of SSP Line



The participants visited the MRT office

Five site technical visit was conducted in the afternoon section. The sites were namely as Chan Sow Line Station, Banda Malaysia North and South Station inside Sungai Besi Airbase, Cross Over at Hospital KL, Titiwangsa Station, Conlay Station. The alignment of the MRT line 2 goes through KL’s highly karstified region and some of the most populated area; through the visit our participants learnt not only the tunnelling technique in karstic land but also their contract arrangement and public engagement methods that tackles with the construction challenges and complicated interfaces with local stakeholders. The sites were mainly doing site formation works for the stations and lunching shaft for the Tunnel Boring Machines. Detailed explanations were given by the site staff on the challenging that they were facing and the solutions to overcome the difficulties. 

Site visit to one of SSP line


Dinner with all participant and Mr Blaise Pearce (front row at right), Director Underground Work of SSP Line


Day 3 - Sightseeing
Days 3 was on Sunday, the participants enjoy themselves on around the central part of Kuala Lumpur and also Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix 2017 at the Sapang Internation Circuit. This was amazing for some of the participants to visit such international major racing event.

Formula 1 Malaysia Grand Prix 2017 at the Sapang Internation Circuit


Day 4 - Full day visit on Explosive and detonator company
After hours of travel time, the participants arrived to the remote part of Kuala Lumpur where the explosive and detonator company was located. Tenaga Kimia Sednirian Berhad (TKSB) was founded in 1976 has became one of the provider of civil high explosive products, blasting accessories bulk emulsion delivery and technical services mainly in the world. After a safety speech given by the safety manager, a welcome and introduction speech was given by the manager. The General Manager – Manufacturing, Mr Noor Hamzah, gave the participants a guided technical visit on the explosive manufacture factory. Detailed explanations were given regarding the manufacture of explosive from raw material to both liquid and solid form of the final product. During the visit, the participants visited varies manufacture production lines of explosive, including bulk emulsion, cartridges and detonators. After visited the explosive production lines, the participants went to the manufacture line of non-electric detonator. When compared with the conventional electric detonator, the non-electric detonator was more reliable and robust in construction industry. Inside the manufacture line of non-electric detonator, the participants were required to put on static protection gears. This was for the protection of the highly sensitive detonator during manufacturing. The manager gave the participants detailed explanation throughout the on-going manufacture process, from raw material to final product with the cord assembly. The participants were then had lunch with the managers and had a fruitful discussion. It was noted that visiting the explosive manufacturer was a rare opportunity for the participant to understand the mechanism of the explosive in our daily usage. As mentioned by some of our participants, “witnessing how explosive ingredients are mixed, packaged and stored is not something that we can see in day to day life”. We exchanged our view on the practice of explosives applications of Hong Kong and Malaysia, and we shared common view that applicators of explosives always have to strike balance between public view and blasting methods, regulator requirements and logistic costs, where there is not a well defined line nor precedence for applicators refer to.

Mr Tim Leung (1st R), Hon. Treasurer, and Mr Andy Raine (2nd R), President, of IOM3(HK), presenting souvenir to Mr Noor Hamzah (2nd R), General Manager – Manufacturing



The participants visited Tenaga Kimia Sednirian Berhad


Day 5 - Visit on Malaysia CIDB and University of Malaya
Day 5 was divided into morning and afternoon sections. In the morning sections, the participants were arrived at the head office of Malaysia Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB). After a welcoming speech given by Senior General Manager of CIDB, Sr. Sariah Abdul Karib, and her experts team, forum discussion and exchanged ideas on construction industry development and the different implementation between Hong Kong and Malaysia conducted. CIDB shared their experience and policy in encouraging the improvement of local construction practice in safety, robustness etc. CIDB also provided consultancy and advisory services in construction industry, regulated the conformance of standards for local construction industry. All participants had this opportunity to understand well about the CIDB having the authorities similar in combination of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and Development Bureau (DB) in Hong Kong, where CIDB is more of an authoritative intermediate amongst different government bodies as well as private enterprises, that has the right to drive the Private-Public-Partnership approach, whilst our CIC is more in the position of advocating better construction techniques, HS&E etc. and DB is more on the legislative side.  While the participants see differences in the approaches both regions adopt, in the subsequent discussion the participants reckoned that both approaches carry benefits; CIDB could drive development efficiently while the Hong Kong’s practice could balance of needs of different stakeholders. Sr. Sariah Abdul Karib mentioned at the end that she and her team were impressed by the sophisticated organization of Central-Wan Chai Bypass project during her last visit to Hong Kong in February 2016.

The participants visited the CIDB head office



IOM3(HK) exchanging souvenir with CIDB (Mr Tim Leung (1st R), Hon. Treasurer and Mr Andy Raine (2nd R), President, of IOM3(HK), Sr. Sariah Abdul Karib (M), Senior General Manager of CIDB)



The participants visited the highway construction site

After had lunch with the CIDB official, the participants visited the University of Malaya. We were privileged to have the chance to visit the Faculty of Engineering, and met with their prestiged Professors and researchers who have had significant achievements in Material Science and Engineering. The participants shared the experiences with the faculty members in a discussion forum. Being one of the leading University in Asia, University of Malaya cultivates talents for the country, as well as develops technologies for real life applications, either by patenting or by spinning off tech companies when the application is mature. Commercialization of research results that enhance construction performance is one of their key objectives, such as, Professor Ir. Dr. Mohd Zamin Bin Jumaat, Prof. Dr. Hilmi Bin Mahmud and Associate and Asso. Prof. Dr. Ubagaram Johnson Alengaram have been with their collaborators developing the application of palm oil clinker based geopolymer concrete that uses 100 % cement replacement materials to enhance ductility of concrete while reducing pollution to the environment. The research of polymerization concrete has been quite mature, similar to the case in Hong Kong, for wider scale application, researchers would need to coordinate with all stakeholders of the industry to improve performance in mass production and have regulators specified the product in code of practice and specification. The process would take years to complete.

The participants went to have a laboratory visit toured the by the faculty members. The laboratories were microscope laboratory for the material science, concrete technology laboratory and structural laboratory. In the concrete technology laboratory, a research student demonstrated the concrete mixing of cementless concrete with detailed explanation given by Prof. Zamin. Last but not the least, the participants went to the demonstration building which is make from special concrete. The special concrete was made up of reconstituted slug, tin remains etc. This demonstration provided a good opportunity on the way of reusing industrial wastes. 

The participants visited the University of Malaya



Mr Andy Raine (R), President of IOM3(HK) presenting souvenir to Professor Ir. Dr. Mohd Zamin Bin Jumaat of University of Malaya


Day 6 - Visit on SMART
In the last day of visit, the participants went to the operation office of Stormwater Management And Road Tunnel (SMART Tunnel). The SMART Tunnel system was a storm water drainage control and traffic mitigation system in the central part of the town, which similar to Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS) of Hong Kong, which aims to improve the water quality of the river/ harbour system. SMART is the key phase for the River of Life (ROL) which set to transform KLCC rivers system into landmark waterfront; SMART also serves to mitigate the seasonal flood brought to the city by high river floods and storms. Since 2007, the stormwater diversion system has been activated over 200 times, safeguarding the people of KLCC and providing it a secure environment for business activities and livelihood.

The SMART Tunnel was owned and operated by the Government, the Drainage and Irrigation Department of Malaysia. The tunnel was aimed to improve flooding problem in down town for which flooding had been a big issue for decades. A welcoming speech and introduction of the SMART Tunnel was given by the Ir. Salwa Binti Ramly, Senior Engineer of Department of Irrigation and Drainage Malaysia, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The SMART Tunnel consisted of three main components: the at Kampung Berembang lake as receiver lake (where the control office was located), the SMART Tunnel body, the Taman Desa lake as discharge lake. The main focus of the visit is the SMART Tunnel itself. The 9.7km Tunnel had four different modes of operation, namely Mode 1, Mode 2, Mode 3 and Mode 4. Mode 1 and Mode 2 were the conditions where the traffic was allowed. Under major storm condition, Mode 3 was employed. In mode 3, no traffic was allowed inside the tunnel. This was for the preparation when heavy storm approached during which Mode 4 was needed to be employed in a quick manner. In Mode 4, the traffic tunnel was flooded with storm water. The total capacity of the SMART Tunnel system was up to 3 million cubic meter of storm water. The operation officer also provided detail explanation on operation control room with real time video and sensor (rain gauges, water level sensor etc.) feeds. The SMART Tunnel was able to control the flooding problem in the central part of KL and more importantly saving the economy damage caused by flooding. Nevertheless, the participants had a great discussion with the operation officer and shared the storm water mitigation system in Hong Kong Island, which was designed and built by two of our honorary participants.

The four modes of operation (figure captured in SMART Tunnel webpage)



Mr Andy Raine (R), President of IOM3(HK), presenting souvenir to Ir. Salwa Binti Ramly, Senior Engineer of Department of Irrigation and Drainage Malaysia



The participants visited the SMART Tunnel control office

The visit provided a very good platform for the interaction between the Hong Kong and Malaysia construction industry. We very much appreciate IOM3(HK) for organizing this technical visit to KL. The overseas visit provided participants with valuable opportunities to get an substantial understanding on the tunnelling practice, contract arrangement, public engagement, a regulated body entrusted with significant responsibility of their construction industry, materials engineering and techniques development in academic of Malaysia. Participants themselves also have the chance to exchange expertise of their field during the tour. The visit was ended on the night of Mid-autuum festival.