Away with support letters, cries DAP leader

by Rahmah Ghazali | Malaysiakini

DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang urged government ministries to get cracking for a total ban on government support letters for those tendering for its projects.

In response to Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat’s statement on the a move by the ministry on Wednesday, Lim had said it was a step in the right direction.

The Ipoh Timor MP said ministries should, instead, replace the questionable support letters with the open tender system.

“The prime minister, PM’s department and other ministries should impose a total ban on support letters and practise open tenders, so questions over the letters would vanish.

“If there are open tenders, then there would be accountability and transparency. They would be open to public scrutiny and all will depend on the merits and demerits of the proposals,” said Lim when contacted.

Anti-graft warriors sleeping on the job?

On Wednesday, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) had justified support letters, saying no corrupt practices were involved.

However, the English daily New Straits Times reported that it was against the law to issue a support letter to an individual or company in which the issuer or his family or partners had a vested interest.

Despite that Ong said the ministry will impose the ban in order to instill a culture of good governance and as a result of the exchange of ideas at the National Key Result Ares (NKRA) laboratories.

Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor Derek Fernandez told Malaysiakini that the support letters could impact negatively on the image of a particular administration.

According to him, it would still be acceptable if the intent in issuing the letter for endorsement was “in a nature for character reference or legal or administrative purposes.

“However, if the letter is intended to put pressure on the ultimate decision maker directly or indirectly, then that would be improper,” he said.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 12:30 pm

    No support letters? How can man, u know, how 2 wan xek lah
    What’s d use 2 b politicians, latuk, cronies if no support letters 2 get business deals
    Si kiao kiao loh
    Cannot lah, hving support letters is d given right of BN supporters n cronies
    Maybe PR supporters n cronies too

  2. #2 by limkamput on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 12:53 pm

    Sdr Lim, you should be smarter than that. It is too late, don’t be a nincompoop. The intention must be right, not cosmetic changes. So no letter; what about a phone call? Even open tender can be abused.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 12:55 pm

    A new, small, unheard-of company with RM2 paid-up capital gets a contract over a big, capable one with RM2million paid-up capital and an excellent track record. Where can this happen?

    A. Heaven
    B. Bolehland
    C. The moon
    D. Dante’s Purgatory

  4. #4 by Onlooker Politics on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 1:43 pm

    If the affirmation action for helping the poor and underprivileged is the priority, even if an unheard-of company with RM2 paid-up capital should be given an opportunity to bid for the Government contract.

    For instance, a garbage and toilet cleaning company which is formed by a group of poor and unemployed citizens can be deemed to have much better commitment, manpower resources, and the technical capability to deliver the satisfactory services of cleaning up the public toilets than a public listed company which owns multi-million Ringgit of paid-up-capital but is already debt-ridden with negative tangible asset!

  5. #5 by pwcheng on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 1:45 pm

    All these support letters, closed tender, negotiated tender or no tender, APs and anything that can fill the politician and their cronies pockets are the brainchild of of TDM and its a legacy that had pulled the country down, discourage foreign investors and chased away local investors. That much credit we can give to him and UMNO is so protective of the system that they now are thinking twice whether to release the Barry Wain’s write up.
    Even OTK who has up till now doing the right thing, except taking a flight or two in the wrong planewill see all these derailed or he himself will be derailed. UMNO is just too good for all these.

  6. #6 by storm62 on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 1:51 pm

    Support letters from Ministries & PM’s dept?
    does this encourage bribery or it’s just favouritism?

    Public listed companies doing multi million contract overseas but finds it difficult to get govt. projects here and have to be a sub-con to rm2 inexperience companies. how you like that?

  7. #7 by -ec- on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 1:59 pm

    k1980 :
    A new, small, unheard-of company with RM2 paid-up capital gets a contract over a big, capable one with RM2million paid-up capital and an excellent track record. Where can this happen?
    A. Heaven
    B. Bolehland
    C. The moon
    D. Dante’s Purgatory

    E. Pandora

  8. #8 by Leong Yook Kong on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 2:30 pm

    Brother Kit Siang, this maybe an unrelated matter when we talk about government letters.

    On 08-12-2009, I was given a letter (written by a government department) dated 24-09-2007 addressed to a company that did not exist at the time of the letter but only in existence on 02-04-2008 by the department. Besides, there are other flaws found in the letter. Since I had lodged the allegation against the company with the department, I believe that its motive is to undermine and discredit my allegation.


  9. #9 by boh-liao on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 3:15 pm

    Allah/God made many, many poor people
    No shame 2 want 2 b biddy biddy rich
    No shame too 2 b mucho mucho rich
    With a little bit of help n luck with support letters
    MMK sure approves 1, avatar or not, USA-staged or not

  10. #10 by taiking on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 5:57 pm

    Mamak said 911 was staged by US government? Hold your tongue there. There is a twist to that comment and the twist will emerge soon. Look. It is a stupid comment. We all know that. Dont we? And mamak too. Soon he will retract that comment. Yes. He will. And he will do it this way: It was not he (i.e. the real mamak) who made that comment. The US government (i.e. obama) created a realistic 3D talking avatar of him. And the purpose of that creation – to make mamak the avatar claim that 911 was caused by the US government.

    Believe me. I can sense this coming!

    How queer. Captcha generated these words for me: “world hegemony”

  11. #11 by Syeikhs85 on Friday, 22 January 2010 - 8:45 pm

    Well, support letters must be strictly disregarded when a decision is made on a contract, business or any income derived matters.

    It cannot be an offense for any individual to obtain a support letter for special consideration for tenders, contracts, land applications, scholarships etc, but the decision making bodies must show transparency by strictly ignoring or disregard the support letters whether it’s from a Minister or politician or any one for the matter, when making a decision.

    However, everyone must remember that support letters issued with any gratification payments either before or after the successful approval of whatever the support letter were used for is an offense under the MACC Act 2009. Likewise, anyone who demand or receive any gratification to issue a support letter for any matter is also committing an offense under the same act. This has been made clear by the MACC in their press release.

    Anyone who come to know any gratification demands or payments for a support letter must go forward to lodge a report so that MACC investigate and bring the culprits to court.

    I think the One Malaysia concept if properly adhered then there will be no need for the use of support letters to obtain any special consideration.

    Let’s all go against the use of support letters.

  12. #12 by passerby on Saturday, 23 January 2010 - 1:19 am

    That’s commission letter. If not how did that Razak Baginda got the Submarine contract?

  13. #13 by monsterball on Saturday, 23 January 2010 - 2:51 am

    They are the crooks….and yet it is also them to correct what they did wrong…which means..all the past crooked deals..lets forget and move forward?
    If not being exposed by LKS…allowing all Malaysians to know the whole truths…will they act like this?
    OTK is protecting UMNO and MCA crooks….under the orders of Najib.
    All can imagine like Mahathir…after seeing “AVATAR” movie.
    MACC will long as anything to protect UMNO….and country and people…are secondary matters.
    Open tenders suggestions was said thousands of times…for decades.
    Only tenders for small amount are open tenders.
    Huge can go on dreaming.
    UMNO BARU needs secretive and closed door tenders…to make sure huge commissions can be sucked up legally…and once open to public..where can the plan their crooked deals?
    Do not eve forget….Mahathir…the founder of UMNO BARU have they can be done..for 22 years..for UMNO to keep buying loyalties and buy up the country…to rule forever.
    Tenders not open for public to see…is most important.
    They keep making suckers to those supporting them to govern…yet those supporters cannot see…how stupid they are?
    No…thousands upon thousands have actually seen the truths of it all.
    The test was the “ALLAH” issue….all backfired.
    I like the post of non Muslims singing praises to Allah….protecting the Sultans.
    Yes…what “Allah” were the Christians thinking of….when they sing that word?
    Love to here smart Mahathir give his comment….as Najib is good for nothing….will ignore…or make more good news to direct all Malaysians to forget their blunders.
    This has always been the art applied…for past years…since UMNO BARU was born.

  14. #14 by taiking on Saturday, 23 January 2010 - 4:44 pm

    So you got a 100m dollar job from a certain ministry. If you do not hv the financial means to handle that job you would not even dare to dream about approaching the ministry for the job (whether by direct negotiation or by open tender). For the same reason, you would not be so bold as to go and get the job if you do not have the technical expertise or the experience.

    Actually, if the ministry’s officials behave responsibly, direct negotiation too would not be a problem. A clear guideline must be drawn to assist them in their determination of the following (as mentioned above) (1) financial means; (2) relevant knowledge; (3) experience; and (4) track record. Unsuitable contractors could be weeded out by direct negotiation too and they should be weeded out. But of course the umno gobermen happily abused the process. This is a known fact. In fact so well known that umnoputras became quite blatant and open about it. And now they even claim the process to be their exclusive privilege and therefore unquestionable by the rest of us. That being the case open tender is the way forward.

    Back to the financial means issue. Because of abuse a 2dollar company may be awarded multi-billion dollar project. It has happened before. That simply means doing mega-big business with zero capital – an impossibility anywhere else except in the land of umnoputras. Not just that. That 2dollar company and all its members and directors may know next to nothing about the project they were entrusted to carry out.

    Without money nothing moves of course. The two dollar company would be in desperate need of financing. Without no track record etc that company is not going to get the money it requires. Here comes the letter of support. Who gives the support? The Ministry concerned, clearly. So what the heck would the ministry be supporting? That the 2dollar company can re-pay the loan? (This cannot be for obvious reason) That the 2dollar company can do the job? (This too is ridiculous for the company has no experience and track record). The question then is why should banks listen to such support letters? There are really no reason for banks to give any consideration or weight to such letters. Unless the letter is good for saying that if the contractor should bungle up the job the ministry will take over its responsibilities including its financial liabilities? In other words, it is a guarantee worded in a clumsy manner. The clumsiness of the document is intended for no guarantee was expressly given but the effect of the letter is nevertheless clear to the recepient.

    So LKS is right to insist that support letters be done away with completely. If they are not able to finance a project they should not be awarded the job. The government must not provide them with a means to bridge their inability.

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