Graft-proofing procurement process is no easy task, my dear MAHB

AIRPORT operator Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) had a back-to-back litmus test of its anti-graft procurement policy recently, the latest being a visit by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to its headquarters to investigate the company over a tender award.

The project in question is related to the ‘multi-billion ringgit’ COVID-19 Private Screening and Testing contract award for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) that has been awarded to BP Clinical Lab Sdn Bhd.

(The second test centres on its Automated People Mover (APM) Replacement tender, the process of which has not been concluded. However, MAHB has not received any enquiry from MACC relating to this project.)

“The company has given full cooperation and complied with all MACC requirements, and there has been no further enquiry from MACC,” MAHB pointed out in a Bursa Malaysia filing yesterday (July 21).

Under the said COVID-19 screening and testing project, BP Clinical Lab shall undertake screening and manning COVID-19 testing facilities at five centres at the KLIA main terminal and three at klia2.

Passengers can look forward to shorter wait times upon arrival because this new facility will be able to produce the COVID-19 RTK and RT-PCR results within 15 minutes and three hours respectively.

What would have probably sparked suspicion of sorts with regard to the project is its lucrative-cum-monopolistic aspect from the service provider’s stand-point – RM60 to RM250 for Malaysians and RM90 to RM350 for foreigners with an estimated 40,000 passengers daily expected to use the new screening and testing facilities.

Other questionable aspects of the deal could be the profit sharing portion between the project offeror and service provider as well as a possible biasness in the selection process of the service provider from the pool of bidders.

On its part, MAHB said BP Clinical Lab’s appointment was made after a stringent open tender exercise. The airport operator further noted that more service providers will be appointed at other international airports once the necessary approvals have been obtained.

“BP Clinical Lab has over 38 years’ experience in the medical healthcare industry and has a proven track record in providing services to many government agencies such as the Health Ministry (MOH) and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO),” justified the airport operator.

“The organisation has more than 120 outlets nationwide and a large pool of medical personnel comprising qualified doctors and nurses, and its current health check system is also integrated with MySejahtera and SIMKA (owned by the National Public Health Laboratory to monitor outbreaks).

“To date, BP Clinical Lab had conducted COVID-19 tests for more than 3.5 million people.”

As the MACC investigates the tender process, MAHB has reiterated that procurement processes for all its tenders were conducted in strict compliance with its procurement standard operating procedures (SOPs) with the Anti-Bribery Management System (ABMS) serving as additional safeguard to provide another layer of control within the company’s procurement processes.

“The company’s procurement processes have also achieved ISO 37001:2016 certification for adopting ABMS,” added the airport operator.

At 12.28pm, MAHB was down 2 sen or 0.35% to RM5.76 with 183,900 shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM9.57 bil. – July 22, 2021

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