Open Tender for all government procurements – most effective way to prevent corruption and ensure efficiency

by Dr. Chen Man Hin

Last year on August 5th the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was quoted as saying that open tender would be implemented for government procurements. This was a very encouraging statement and gave the impression that he really intended to institute reforms to bring about better governance. Was this the signal that things are changing?

Later, when he was anointed prime minister, he announced further reforms to launch off his “1 Malaysia, People First, Performance Now” concept. This was even more promising.

Unfortunately, the euphoria engendered so far has now vanished by the announcement in Parliament on Wednesday that MATRADE expo – the biggest and most comprehensive exhibition center – would be awarded to a private contractor NAZA TTDI through private negotiated deal. The government procurement was NOT given out by OPEN TENDER.

This is a shocking development and has unravelled all the attempts by Najib to initiate a series of reforms for better governance in a “1 Malaysia”.

The latest shock has come after an earlier revelation that Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index ranking has fallen sharply from 47th to 56th place. This was a big blow to the hopes for a cleaner and more efficient government.




  1. #1 by tenaciousB on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 10:36 am

    Such a dream come true if UMNO allowed open tenders and transparency, NOT! Never as long as they are still in power. LOL

    What burdens every malaysian still is, despite the unraveled scandals of billions of ringgit squandered by BN, people aren’t standing up and demanding them to leave office. And now BN since emptying the national treasury is hoping for the introduction of GST to finance themselves further. What the FCUK!

  2. #2 by limkamput on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 10:55 am

    If we ask why corruption is so endemic in this country, there are answers probably as many as the respondents to that question. Similarly, if we ask why our governance standard is bad, there are probably as many reasons as they are people. These are all big and complex issues that have no simple solutions. Most often than not, we are merely reacting each time a problem emerged. Hence, for PKFZ, it is probably a combination of corruption, incompetence, collusion, lack of oversights (supervision), moral hazard, and cronyism.

    Is the Maltrade project a lack of tendering problem alone? What about this: Do we really need this project in the first place? If it is, we need to ask why and how they are able to circumvent tendering. Why the authority is so ever willing to defend this project so vehemently? Are there collusion, corruption, cronyism and incompetence involved? If some of these underlying are not right, do you think tendering alone will be able to solve all the problems associated with it? We can all do things rightly for a wrong reason/motive, am i right?

    From what I can see, each problem that emerges has a combination of factors and all these we can actually group them as governance issues. I think it is time we need a national blueprint of governance.

  3. #3 by chiakchua on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 11:02 am

    Mustafa does not know what he is talking nowadays! I respect him as one of those in UMNO who seemed to be ‘clean’. His recent statement on this convention centre showed that he is also being toed along by his bosses. He should resign like Zaik if he has the real ‘gut’! All projects must go through open tender, this has to be the ‘uncompromisable’ policy. If they think a Bumi company who can undertake such mammoth project still need the ‘Bumiputra’ protection, then at least the bidding must be opened to all Bumi companies. However, if they do not get enough Bumi participation, then it must be opened to all Malaysian companies as there were not enough capable Bumi companies to bid for such project!

  4. #4 by albert308 on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 11:44 am

    Najib had made many promises since appointed as PM. However, at the end of his tenure after GE13 Malaysians will wonder what Najib has done for this country; its going to be zero achievement and worse than Pak La performance. High income economy is going to be laughable promise for the country.

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 11:47 am

    Najib be consistent? Its against everything he is trained to do..He has gotten where he is by hypocrisy and shirking irresponsibility. Why would he change? What would make him really believe that it pays to be different? He is not the loser in his ways of deceit and lies..

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 11:51 am

    ///Last year on August 5th the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was quoted as saying that open tender would be implemented for government procurements/// – Dr. Chen Man Hin.

    No, Najib did not quite exactly say this or give a carte blanche to open tenders.

    Though he used the word “all”, he also in next breath qualified it by carves out of exceptions.
    [NST Online 2009/03/10 under caption “ Najib unveils RM60b stimulus package” reported his words as “All government procurements will be made through open tenders or restricted tenders except for specific cases.”

    In other words against the so-called general rule of “all government procurements will be made through open tenders” there are exceptions of “restricted tender cases” of a few restricted parties invited to bid and also outright exceptions of a appointed beneficiary of a govt contract on “negotiated” basis.

    There are no transparent and rational criteria clarified to distinguish the general rule from the exceptions. (What is there to stop, in terms of implementation, for the exceptions to become, by sheer number of incidences, the general in no time, the general to become exceptions???) But even discounting number of incidences, what counts is the value of the contract, the greater the value the greater the need for open tender. Here they come out with excuses, like for example the mega defence procurement contracts where Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad said that the purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines, was not made through an open tender as doing so would expose the country’s defence system to all and sundry. He even said that similar approach was also taken by countries like India, Chile and Brazil. Of course there could be other exceptions : how could we give the contract based on the best bid from a foreigner or a non Malay and not a bumiputra company consistent with NEP? When excuses run out, fiction is created when as, in Matrade Expo case, NAZA’s track record is touted by Mustapha as the “developer” of Taman Tun Dr Ismail instead of TDDI!

    Open tender is but a pipe dream given lip service only because at the heart of our political culture is feudal system of patronage where favours by way of lucrative govt contracts and licences are given (all under the pretext of NEP) in exchange for political loyalty and financial support/political fund raising. It is the raison de etre of entering politics – to benefit from patronage and largesse from the gravy train. Strike at this by suggesting open tender, one strikes at all pillars holding up the political system!

    This means even if a PM were really serious to implement open tender he would be booted out and ousted by his party warlords in no time. These warlords – delegates and MPs- continually lobby, badger, cajole (backed by veiled threat of withdrawing support) government ministers and officials for contracts and licences and then get their letter of “sokongan” (support) to in turn pressure civil servants and their DGIs to so award. The power of these warlords is seen in Bagan Pinang by election – if party leadership did not nominate Tan Sri Isa as BN candidate, they would boycott/withdraw support ensuring an Opposition victory. The party leadership balked and deferred to that pressure which proved a “wise” decision (to BN) to ensure victory.

    We know how negotiated contracts as opposed to open tender are a feudal norm underpinning political corruption in this country but this cannot be addressed by a mere top leader wishing to continue in power as ‘numero ono’ unless his power base is dependent not on party delegates, warlords and officials but directly on the people/rakyat themselves wishing for transparency, accountability and open tenders. For that the PM’s position like that of the US president must be directly voted upon by the general electorate.

  7. #7 by Godfather on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 12:57 pm

    “Open tender” again ? Haven’t we heard that this does not apply to bumiputras ?

    This scheme is indeed a good scheme in UMNO’s eyes. It ensures that the government gets paid in unpaid import duties by the NAZA group. It ensures that the banks which have been applying pressure on NAZA can now back off, as there is a very good chance of repayment of overdue loans. So there is no chance of a tokoh bumiputra failing – despite the billions in AP fees that it has made over the past 15 years.

    On top of that, as Jeffrey points out, we now have a new but “experienced” developer in NAZA TTDI !

    A wondrous scheme hatched by bankrupt people. Yet we have so many who still support the bankrupt government.

  8. #8 by k1980 on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 1:06 pm

    In bn’s dirty minds, “Open tender” in bolehland means opening all to expose the tender organ beneath the clothes, which is against the law. So only “Closed tender” allowed

  9. #9 by Godfather on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 1:30 pm

    Show me one government awarded contract in Malaysia which sticks to the original price. Kasim Amat, are you listening ? Just show me one government contract that doesn’t have cost overruns, changes in design specs, etc etc.

    When the idiots say that the new expo centre is going to cost RM 628 million, that’s just the initial cost. It will end up being a multiple of this amount. The new palace was supposed to cost RM 400 million, now it is RM 1.2 billion. PKFZ was supposed to cost only a fraction of the RM 12.5 billion that it is now costing us. The double-tracking contract has mysteriously doubled in size.

    Kit, just keep watch…..the PKFZ contracts, the new Istana contract, and double-tracking contract, and now this expo centre contract. They can run, but they can’t hide.

  10. #10 by limkamput on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 1:37 pm

    Yes, direct election we must. Otherwise it is replacing on tyrant with another, even including PR prime minister (if ever PR come into power). The problem this country faces is not just leaders which lack integrity are now at the helm. It is the governance system which more or less guarantees that only people with dubious characters (racist, dictatorial, corrupt, patronage, colluding) will be able to reach the helm. You can change the PM all you want, the governance will be the same.

  11. #11 by boh-liao on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 2:03 pm

    Open tender 2 Umnoputras, like the 40 thieves
    means “Open, Simsim” (commonly written as “Open Sesame” in English)

  12. #12 by pwcheng on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 2:03 pm

    This has been going on for years. I think many of us has enough of this and though they had enhanced their professionalism in lying, so are we; we had also enhanced our professionalism in not believing their lies. The “1Malaysia” concept, tell it to the marines. They are all bullshit and unsavory propoganda . It might fool somebody, like MCA, MIC, PPP and all its running dogsbut they cannot fool the majority of the rakyat.

  13. #13 by pwcheng on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 2:06 pm

    Najib will not be different from any UMNO leaders. Mahathir Badawi can come and go, Badawi can come and go, Najib can come and go. As long as they are from UMNO they will try to deceive the people. A professional liar at best , you can call them. They will tell you one thing but will contradict themselves the next moment. This has been going on for years. I think many of us has enough of this and though they had enhanced their professionalism in lying, so are we; we had also enhanced our professionalism in not believing their lies. The “1Malaysia” concept, tell it to the marines. They are all bullshit and unsavory propoganda . It might fool somebody, like MCA, MIC, PPP and all its running dogsbut they cannot fool the majority of the rakyat.

  14. #14 by frankyapp on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 4:32 pm

    All government tenders should go through the open tender system,yep I cannot agreed more than what Dr.Chen said. How about PR state control governments,say for a start do what Dr.Chen said to prove a point to the Umno/Bn regime. Frankly speaking,I have been in malaysian politic maybe far too long to believe that Umno/Bn ,PR or who ever is,can stop corruption,let alone eradicate it due to the fact that in malaysia,money in politic is like mother’s milk to an infant.Let me elaborate a tale,A decided to join politic to help his people to rid of corruption,he needed money/cash to do the job,hence he quietly went around to his friends for fund,ended up most of the fund raised had string attacked A, metwith friends and relatives to help him to put up an election campaign,most ,including his closed relatives told him “no money,no talk ,you want “MahChai” money first.” Poor A ,determined he would win,hence he agreed to all these term and condition.The moral of this tale,even before A got elected and sat in the government he had decided to accept corruption.Reason you guys can see when a poltician is elected,hundreds of well wishers are around him.Maybe a minor some are sincere,the rest you know maybe better than me,what are they up to this guy.My augurment is our soceity is rooted with corruption especially in those present top politicians,what can a handful of sincere and clean politicians do to stop it.Most say early education is best,yep I agreed but look around you in early years schools,most of these teachers/committee members of the board are involved in politic,money and position.Finally as long as money is everybody’s priority,the truth of the matter is,corruption will stay and may even deteriorate.This is beleh land.This is a fact not an myth.

  15. #15 by ktteokt on Friday, 27 November 2009 - 11:13 pm

    Open tender simply means the bumiputras, especially UMNOputras will be out of the race! Of the many government contracts secured by bumiputras or UMNOputras, how many of them are actually completed by them? Most if not all have been subbed, sub-subbed, sub-sub-subbed…….. to non-bumis who do the donkey job while these jellyfishes take their cut in between!

  16. #16 by johnnypok on Saturday, 28 November 2009 - 4:11 am

    The only solution is to “kill” BN/UMNO and bury it forever.

  17. #17 by monsterball on Saturday, 28 November 2009 - 4:16 am

    When UMNO can find another crony to help them get billions….you expect open tenders?
    Trace MAS..and few more. Poor Eric Chia….Berjaya Steel squandering put on hold.
    Best of all..right now PKFZ RM12.4 billion…seems to have no more fireballs to smoke out the rouges.
    And one wrote a book said Mahathir rob RM100 billion tax payers money.
    Should be a best seller here sand distributed worldwide.
    You see…UMNO needs billions to buy up the country.
    How to do that with oipen tenders on huge huige billion projects?
    Open tenders are for few millions chicken feed tenders and yet…the auditor said…an average of RM28 billion per year.. overpriced in tenders.
    Our country is corrupted to the core…under UMNO….and NAZA is the new puppet on the string…for so call .famous words…win win situation between Naza and UMNO.
    Election is around the corner…UMNO needs billions to buy up the country.
    Expecting real and sincere competition in elections…you all can go on dreaming.
    UMNO rule by race.religion and corruptions.
    Take away all that….UMNO is nothing.

  18. #18 by ringthetill on Saturday, 28 November 2009 - 6:47 am

    I’m no economist. I think many smaller projects rather than one massive project will benefit the people better. And why put everything in the Klang Valley. Me think, cast the funds wider and more people will benefit. Unless there are other sinister motives.
    Why is the DAP only seen to be complaining? Never mind about MChiA and Gagakan, what say PAS and PKR? No wonder Ummno has a free run.

  19. #19 by Godfather on Saturday, 28 November 2009 - 9:49 am

    “Unless there are other sinister motives.”

    This is the UMNO funding modus operandi pioneered by Mamakthir: give a project to an UMNOputra-controlled company. Tell the UMNOputra not to worry, there is no downside risks. If the worst case happens and the project fails, the government will take it back AND compensate the UMNOputra for work already done. If there is no funding available from banks, I will get my loyal servants to put pressure on the CEOs of the banks. If that fails, I will call the EPF board to fund.

    When the time comes, UMNO could call on the UMNOputra to contribute to the party. Don’t worry, you say you are not making that much money ? OK, we will give you a variation order for a few hundred millions to enable you to make that contribution. You still can’t make money ? OK, we will get the Securities Commission to approve your reverse takeover of a PLC, and then we will get the EPF to subscribe for the new shares.

    Just so that we are clear, not all UMNOputras are “bumiputra”. Just look at Ananda Krishnan, Yeoh Tiong Lay, Vincent Tan and Ting Pek Khiing.

  20. #20 by boh-liao on Saturday, 28 November 2009 - 10:02 am

    Wonder if MMK (megaproject king) an international advisor of Dubai World
    1M’sia will be like Dubai World having a great impact on de world
    We just need one special straw that will eventually break the camel’s back
    Then de domino effect will ripple through de financial world

  21. #21 by frankyapp on Saturday, 28 November 2009 - 2:37 pm

    If TDM has robbed our money amounting to RM100 billion the NR regime if it wants to enjoy credibility and integrity should investigate it,otherwise NR and regime is deem as “sama sama “. The author/book should aid NR and MACC with pretty easy job.Taiwan ex-president for two terms chin sui ping was charged,found guilty and now in jail.Many south american ex-presidents were charged and found guilty as well. How come none of our ex-prime minister ever being investigated though dozens of allegations were label on some of them.Are we not an elected demoncray ?

  22. #22 by House Victim on Sunday, 29 November 2009 - 2:25 am

    #10 by limkamput on Friday, 27 November 2009 – 1:37 pm
    #13 by frankyapp on Friday, 27 November 2009 – 4:32 pm

    With more than 50years under UMNO, ethnic of a great number of people had gone. Discipline of a great number of Professional and Government officers had gone. How many people will talk for fairness, if things do not benefit them. Even anyone will talk, any part of the existing Social, Constitutional, Governmental System will help to voice?

    Even a lawyer assaulting clients case in Penang under PR government cannot draw ANY SINGLE VOICE from the PR government, or, Parties?

    Silence had been GOLD for Police/KUP/AG/PCB, Bar Council and PR State Assembly man in PR Government Office!!!

    How many Subang Jaya residents will voice that the State had stolen the Water Retention Pond or the Subang Ria Park (53.8ha)? Same with the gone of Public Reserved area for Subang Jaya (same 53.8ha)? The PR government and the PR State Assembly persons also silent!!

    Thousand residents in Wangsa Baiduri, both the Townhouse and the so called Condo silent on the gone of their Recreation Area and Club House!! A number of lawyers being the residents also help to bully the other residents!!

    Too many people just want to be king even weaving the “King’s new Cloth”!! Does Ethnic means something in Malaysia??

  23. #23 by wanderer on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 - 11:33 am

    YB is’nt your graft figure a bit too conservative and
    kind. You are talking about ‘GONENAS” in the most corrupted political in Bolehland..stealing is just their second nature, ask najis tong rosak…

  24. #24 by wanderer on Tuesday, 1 December 2009 - 11:36 am

    sorry, typo error should read;

    ….. talking about ‘GONENAS” in the most corrupted political party in Bolehland..stealing is just in their second nature, ask najis tong rosak…

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