“Gov’t project cartel”: Public procurement system needs overhaul, adopt technology

WITH the shocking revelation of a “Government project cartel”, an anti-graft non-governmental organisation (NGO) said an overhaul to the Government procurement system is long overdue.

“Perhaps for standard procurement, there should only be open tender. Further use of technology will also strengthen the process further.

“Basically, we need to overhaul the procurement tender process. The Government should engage an independent entity to do conduct holistic forensics on the system to identify gaps and define it,” Rasuah Buster member Datuk Rais Hussin told FocusM.

Early this week, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) crippled a “project tender cartel” by arresting seven individuals, including its head honcho.

Datuk Rais Hussin

They were suspected to have held “monopoly” over 354 tenders from various ministries and Government agencies across Malaysia, involving projects worth a whopping RM3.8 bil.

The syndicate was said to have been operating since 2014, using more than 150 companies’ name to submit tenders and quotations to the Government agencies.

Expressing shock over the matter, Rais said he was curious on how the suspects had managed to be in operations for such a long time, without anyone noticing.

“There must be intense ‘reeducation’ on integrity-in all-we-do programme to infuse ethics among our officers.

“After that, we can come out with a more holistic governance structure, which is more technology-centric with less human interference,” he stated.

Graft in, integrity out

On related matter, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) said it was appalled by the blatant display of corruption perpetrated by the suspects, adding that graft seems to be entrenched in the civil service.

“There are talks among the public that when top political leaders are themselves mired in corruption, getting rid of this sinful and shameless conduct is an impossible proposition.

“It is unbelievable that senior ministry officials, heads of departments and agencies are oblivious to the corruption that happens under their watch.

“Irrespective of whether they know, pretending not to know, or really do not know; heads must roll,” said its president Brigadier- General (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji.

Echoing Rais’ sentiments, he urged the Chief Secretary to the Government and secretary-generals of various ministries to review its tender award system, by placing solid checks and balances procedures to deter corruption.

Arshad added that by awarding numerous Government projects to a single entity, other deserving contractors were deprived of the said opportunity.

“Also, an equitable sharing of wealth and job opportunities to a wider group has been sabotaged. It also made a mockery of our nation’s Shared Prosperity Vision if the so-called vision means anything, or still has credence,” he opined. – April 8, 2021

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