Tun Dr Mahathir: Open Tender to All Government Projects
The business community lauded PM’s announcement to be more transparent in executing Government’s procurement needs. At least the companies participating in the tender exercises would stand a better chance of winning without political meddling, influence, or pressure.
Government procurement can be divided into several types depending on the project value. In general, for anything below RM500,000 it’s called Request For Quotation or RFQ. We also hope that the announcement by PM covers RFQ exercise as well.
The procurement process is not 100% paperless
The recently upgraded e-procurement system is a good platform to start doing business with the government. But there is still a lot of room for improvement. One of the areas that we think should be looked at is an end-to-end e-procurement process itself. The whole process is not 100% paperless. In addition to submitting documents online, hard-copies are also required to be submitted, thus, defeating its real purpose. The whole idea of going online is for efficiency improvement, cost-saving and to mitigate corrupt practices by some unscrupulous characters entrusted to manage the process.
How do we check the integrity of the people running procurement departments?
We can’t run away from thinking that the people who actually run the procurement departments are the ones who may not like to follow this directive from the policy makers. These little Napoleans or Sherif Lobos running these departments are the real culprit. Some of them have engineered indigenous ways of fooling everyone around them just to satisfy their insatiable desire for worldly things. Example – get 5 quotations from their bogus friends. Their reports would show compliance and the rest is history. This modus operandi has been going on for quite some time during the previous administration. A proper mechanism must be in place to checkmate all these parasites who have tarnished the reputation of their agencies.
The business community must band together to ensure this nonsense will not repeat itself and to report dubious characters to proper authorities. On the other hand, the companies must also comply to the law and would suffer reciprocating consequences should we cross that line. Let’s keep it clean and compete based on merit.